Car parking payment scams on the rise with drivers warned

Drivers given 8.6 million parking tickets by private firms in a year

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Many car parks now operate a totally cashless payment system and instead use a QR bar code scanning system similar to the ones that became widespread during the Covid pandemic. Alongside this, parking apps have exploded in popularity, with some car parks slowly moving towards a future where drivers will not get physical tickets.

Drivers sometimes have to call a number on a machine or scan a QR code which takes them to a payment website.

However, fraudsters have now begun targeting these systems in an attempt to steal money and personal information from unsuspecting victims.

This is done by using a fake QR code that is stuck to a payment machine disguised as a “quick pay” option.

Earlier this month, the Isle of Wight council warned that a motorist had money stolen from their bank account after trying to pay for parking using a fake QR code.

It added that it was now checking other payment machines to remove any hoax stickers.

The council was also reminding drivers that its pay and display machines do not use a QR code.

Brean Horne, personal finance expert at NerdWallet is warning drivers on how to spot a parking scam and avoid being a victim.

One of the first things drivers can notice on a parking sign should be if there are any spelling mistakes.

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Poorly worded texts or emails with multiple misspellings, awkward syntax, and grammatical errors are usually an indication of a scam. 

Any legitimate message from a company would have been proofread and should be easy to read.

A scam message often prompts recipients to act instantly and has a tone that implies emergency action is required. 

This is to play on the emotions of the person receiving the message and encourage them to take action and respond. 

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If it asks for sensitive information, it is most likely a scam and should be avoided at all costs.

Email, text and phone scams often ask for some form of sensitive information, whether it’s financial information like bank details, or login passwords and secret answers to security questions on various personal accounts.  

Mr Horne added: “With so many scam emails and texts slipping through the net and onto recipients’ smartphones and inboxes, it’s important that those receiving them never click on any links inside the message. 

“That’s because these links can open and download Malware onto the device which can not only steal personal information but also slow down the device. 

“Any suspicious or fraudulent messages can be forwarded and reported to 7726, a free service that looks into fighting scams.”

Scam emails and texts will often address the receiver in a way that might appear strange or uncommon. 

This could be through vague forms of addressing the victim, through names like Sir, Madam, Miss, or Mr because they either don’t have the recipient’s personal information or in order to copy and paste the message to multiple people for ease. 

Another standout way to spot a scam email is if the email refers to the receiver by email address, for example, dear [email protected]

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