BBB warns about a rise in parking ticket scams

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:41 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning about a rise in scams involving parking tickets.

Scammers use hand-held printers to place fake tickets on your car’s windshield asking you to pay online or by PayPal.

How you can avoid parking ticket scams:

  • Know before you park. Research available parking and local parking requirements before visiting a new place. Tourists with out-of-state plates are often the preferred target for parking scams because they need to familiarize themselves with local parking laws stated the BBB.
  • Examine the citation carefully. Scammers often imitate logos and city office names, but an imitation website is usually where the scam comes to light. Do an internet search for the city’s official parking ticket websites and compare what you find to what’s on the ticket. Keep in mind that government sites should end in a .gov or .ca (in Canada) designation, and if there is a payment page, it should always have a secure connection.
  • Double-check the name checks should be made out to. If the ticket allows for payment by check, take a closer look at the address the check should be sent and how it should be addressed. Checks should generally be made to a specific government organization, not a string of initials or personal names.
  • Pay traffic citations by credit card when possible. It will be easier to contest fraudulent charges if you discover you’ve been scammed down the road.

According to the BBB, in other versions of this scam, you receive an email claiming you have a pending parking ticket. Scammers typically include official-looking logos and argue there will be dire consequences if you don’t pay. Don’t fall for it! If you click on links in the email, you can download malware onto your computer.

If you have been the victim of a parking ticket scam, whether you lost money or not, report it at BBB Scam Tracker. Your report can help others learn about common scam tactics and avoid them.

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