Fake parking tickets have been a problem in Boston for years, but the Better Business Bureau is out with a warning that the scammers are really putting in some overtime lately. Their hand-held printers are super high tech and the tickets look legitimate. So they came up with some tips for you to avoid being ripped off. Before you pay that parking ticket, here’s what to look out for.

  • How are they asking you to pay the fine?

    If the website to pay online doesn’t end in .gov, that should be a big warning sign. One big thing scammers are using these days to fool you… QR codes. Since it’s not an obvious web address, it’s easy for them to make you think you’re going to a legit online place to pay a fine. But when you scan that QR code, if you see a .com, .net or something similar, run.

  • Look before you park.

    Scammers will tend to look for legally parked vehicles.  Think about it.  If they worked the same beat as regular parking enforcement officers, they’d probably get caught.  The BBB says they had one victim who had a ticket with a $56 fine in a PARKING GARAGE.  They had the parking receipt on the dashboard too.  The BBB says out-of-state vehicles are an easy target because they’re probably less familiar with the parking regulations of the area.

  • Look at the artwork.

    Compare the seal with the one on the city’s official website.

  • If you pay by check...

    Look carefully at who the check is to be made out to.  Obviously the check wouldn’t be legit if they’re telling you to pay an individual.  A string of initials is another red flag.  If they’re telling you to make the payment out to a non-government organization, it’s a fake.

  • Go with the plastic...

    You have better protections in place using a credit card vs a debit card or check.  It’s easier to contest a fraudulent charge with your credit card company.

  • E-mail scam...

    Fake parking tickets are one thing.  But scammers know most will be able to sniff out a fake.  So the BBB says the other big scam they do is they’ll email you saying a ticket has gone unpaid.  Do NOT click on that link. Even if you don’t pay the fake fine, just clicking on that link can put some nasty stuff on your computer.

  • It's not just your money they want...

    You’d think these fake parking tickets is all about the money. It is.  But what can be even more valuable is your personal information.  If scammers have your address, phone number,  and other private info, they can sell it or use it themselves to try to take our credit in your name.  That brings me to my next point.  If you haven’t frozen your credit, you’re just asking to be an identity theft victim.  Look into it!

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