New parking scam warning: Drivers may lose ‘thousands of pounds’ within minutes
Martin Lewis explains council and private company parking fines
Richmond Council’s parking and community safety teams have received several reports of parking machine bank fraud across the borough. Criminals pretend there is a problem with the parking machine and swallow drivers cards before they can be removed from the machine.
The council has warned victims then lose thousands of pounds from their bank account within minutes of losing their card.
Councillor Alexander Ehmann, Chair of the Transport and Air Quality Committee for Richmond Council warned drivers should take “extra care” when using machines.
He has urged drivers who believe they may have been caught out by the scam to contact their bank immediately.
Mr Ehmann said: “Until the criminals are caught please take extra care to be on guard against scammers and tell your friends and family, who might not have seen this warning message, to be careful too.
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‘We will be working with local police Safer Neighbourhoods Teams to put a stop to these crimes.
‘In the meantime, please try to use contactless payments or cash at parking machines or use RingGo.
“If you think you might have fallen victim to this scam, contact your bank immediately to cancel your bank card.”
The council has warned it is impossible for a parking machine to swallow a bank card under normal circumstances.
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The pay and display machines installed in the borough are manufactured so cards can only be inserted part of the way into the machine.
They warn drivers should be cautious if anyone approaches them when paying and should never insert a card into a parking machine when someone they don’t know is present.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Peter O’ Driscoll, Managing Director of RingGo said the latest scam may push more drivers towards using “cashless parking” in the area.
He said paying through an app reduced the risk of card details being stolen by criminals.
Online payments are encrypted and means road users do not need to run the risk of putting the card in a machine which may have been tampered with.
Mr O’Driscoll said: “The evolving story of parking machine scammers targeting drivers in Richmond adds yet another point to ongoing discussions around the future of parking machines.
“The fact that you have to present your physical card at machines is being taken advantage of.
“But there is a simple way to counteract this type of scam – a cashless parking app, which is something many of us are already used to.
“Using an app means you don’t have to get your card out, instead you can simply pay via a secure, encrypted service.”
A similar scam was reported in Peterborough in 2019 with two drivers losing £700 and £530 after falling foul of the offence.
In both cases, victims had their card taken by the machine just seconds after pushing it into a machine to pay their parking charge.
Police were told the victims were both approached by a man seconds before urging them to pay by card as the machine was supposedly not accepting cash.
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