Parking Lots Are No Longer Safe from Scammers – Beware of These Popular Parking Lot Schemes


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It seems the list of places where you can be targeted by a fraudster is becoming longer each day, and now you can add parking lots to that ever-growing list.

Most of us are familiar with going into the grocery store and coming back to your car to see that someone has placed a promotional flyer on your windshield. As annoying as this can be, at least it did not ask for money or claim you’ve broken the law and demanded a ticket be paid.

Unfortunately, scammers have taken to parking lots across the country trying to rip you off with the following schemes:

Fake fines. The infamous phony parking ticket as made its comeback. The con uses an inexpensive handheld printer to issue a citation that looks almost identical to the ones given out by law enforcement. The tickets can either be stand alone or placed into colorful envelopes. Drivers are then instructed to pay the fine on a scammer-controlled website that requests personal bank information. Before paying a parking ticket, always verify its legitimacy by calling the issuing agency. If the website used for collecting payments does not end in .gov or .org, do not visit the site.

Parking lot imposters. Anyone that’s attended a major sporting event or concert, knows it can be extremely expensive to park near the venue. This can make it difficult to tell the legitimate parking lot workers from the scammers. If you get caught up in a fake parking lot scam, you could lose the money you paid to park there, and have your car towed by the real lot owner. Be sure to look for official signs of legitimacy, such as booths, uniformed workers, plus signs noting the name and phone number of the company that oversees the lot.

Rescue and repair rip-offs. If you come back to your vehicle with a flat tire or disconnected wires, chances are that Good Samaritan that happens to be in the parking lot offering to help for a small fee is the person that caused it. Those that are most likely to be targeted by this scam are elderly women with out-of-state license plates. Instead of accepting the help, firmly state that you do not have the money to pay and call AAA or the police department. This should quickly rid you of the crook once they realize they won’t be making any money.

Home burglaries. Parking lots for movie theaters and shopping malls are a popular target for cons. Since it is guaranteed that you will be away from your home for a minimum of a couple of hours, burglars will enter your vehicles in search of a GPS, car registration, and auto insurance cards. These items contain an address that allows the same crooks to burglarize your home while you’re shopping or watching a movie. The best way to prevent these types of burglaries is to place all items that contain an address in a locked glove compartment or, better yet, carry them with you.

Source: AARP

To read the original article, visit Don’t Be a Scam Mark When You Park

To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, go to

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