May 31, 2019 | Tips, Tricks and Member Safety. Share this article:
Common Parking Lot Scams to Watch for This Summer
Watch out for these common parking lot scams as you attend baseball games, outdoor concerts and other events this spring and summer.
1.) The bogus parking attendant
You arrive at an event where an attendant points you to a nearby lot. You pull in, pay for your spot and receive a payment stub. But, when the event is over, both the attendant and your car are gone.
How it went down: A scammer collected your money and ran off. Your car was parked illegally in the lot, and the lot’s real owner had it towed.
The fix: Only entrust your car to a parking lot attendant with an official logo, a real sign and a contact number. If you’re suspicious, do a quick search on the company.
2.) The trick-it ticket
In this scam, you’ll return to your car after an event to find that you’ve been ticketed for illegal parking. You’ll also find a note informing you about a lawyer who can lower the ticket, or about an online site through which you can pay the fee.
How it went down: Sometimes, the ticket on your windshield is authentic. Or, it’s stuck on by scammers. In both scenarios, though, the helpful note about a lawyer or an online platform for paying the ticket is bogus. The “lawyer” is usually a scammer hoping to milk you for some cash and the online site is riddled with malware.
The fix: Avoid tickets by using official parking lots only. Look for real signs instead of just a “Park Here” notice slapped onto a pole.
If you’re ticketed, look for an official police logo or check the authenticity with your local police department. If you need the assistance of a lawyer, contact one on your own. Only pay a ticket online if you’re absolutely sure it’s a police site.
3.) The phony mechanic
In this scam, you’ll return to your car to find that it won’t start. A bystander claiming to be a mechanic will offer their assistance. After extorting you for cash, they’ll “fix” your car.
How it went down: The “mechanic” disabled your car in an easy-to-fix way while you were gone so they can appear to “fix” it.
The fix: If your car suddenly won’t start and a “mechanic” happens to be passing by, refuse their offers for “help.” Call AAA instead.
4) False accidents
You’re backing out of a parking space, careful to make sure the coast is clear, when there’s a sudden bump. You’ve hit a pedestrian who promises to make an insurance claim against you unless you pay them off.
How it went down: The accident “victim” was hiding out of your line of vision and then leaped behind your car as soon as you started driving.
The fix: Look for a closed-circuit camera and ask the lot’s security if you can review the tape. Hopefully, you’ll see the scammer pulling their ruse.