It happens when you park in a legal parking zone or at a paid meter on the street or in a garage, according to reports the BBB has gotten from around the country.
Once you’ve paid with cash or credit card and left your car in its space, scammers are using a “high-tech,” hand-held printer to make a bogus ticket and leave it on your windshield.
You are told to pay online or through PayPal, although one recent case involved a QR code that directed drivers to a fake payment website.
If you follow the instructions, you will not only pay a fine that you don’t owe, but you’ll be handing over your personal information.
One motorist filed this report with the BBB: “I paid $15 to park in a garage and received a receipt for it, which I displayed on my dashboard. However, I then received a violation notice for $56 for the parking receipt not being visible on the dashboard.”
Another version of this scam comes with an email that accuses you of having a pending parking ticket. The message often looks official and threatens “dire circumstances” if a payment isn’t made, the BBB says.
Clicking on links in this kind of email can download malware onto your computer.
A few things to keep in mind, especially while traveling, because out-of-state license plates can be a draw for scammers:
• Consider doing a little research so you’re at least minimally aware of local parking requirements.
• Examine the ticket. Although logos can be well-imitated, check the city’s official website and make a closer examination. “Keep in mind that government sites should end in a .gov …, and if there is a payment page, it should always have a secure connection.”
• Pay parking and other traffic fines by credit card when possible. That will make it easier to recover any charges if you learn you’ve been a victim.
• If you’re told to pay by check, look at the address given. Checks generally should be made to a government organization and not “a string of initials or personal names,” the BBB says.
And just to show how creative the bad guys can be, a scam hitting Korean communities is seeking money to help the king of Cambodia.
A supposed American lawyer contacts people and asks for a ” transaction fee” to help the king obtain $1.2 million in secret funds that are supposedly stuck in a U.S. bank account, according to the FTC.
The U.S. government is withholding the money, according to the scenario, but the lawyer is trying to get it released and sent to a son of the king, who is supposedly studying in South Korea. The lawyer promises that he has government documents to prove it’s legit.
And guess what? Those who pay the fee will get a “big cut” of the king’s riches.
A confusing tale, for sure, and it’s also completely bogus.
“The secret pot of money doesn’t really exist,” the FTC says. “The supposed documents are forged. And nobody who contacts you out of the blue asking for a transaction fee to send you or a loved one money is legitimate. Ever.”
Contact Ellen Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-823-3972 if you are aware of what sounds like a scam. To report a scam to law enforcement, contact the New Mexico Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 1-844-255-9210, prompt 5. Complaints can be filed electronically at nmag.gov/file-a-complaint.aspx.