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rmv-blog-cars-driving-into-bostonScammers routinely use creative ways to trick people into giving them money and this parking ticket scam making the rounds in larger cities is no different.  Crafting official-looking citation tickets, con artists have created a few different variations of the scam to prey on their victims.

Say you make a quick stop to pick something up, and return to find a ticket placed on your windshield. It states that it’s from the parking department and asks you to pay the fine online. Although both the ticket and website look legitimate, this can be a way for scammers to obtain your card information. The second variation of the scam involves residents receiving a fine in the mail. The letter directs the recipient to call the number provided in order to make an immediate payment over the phone. Another version of this scam involves receiving genuine-looking emails that claim you have an overdue fine for a parking ticket or for a traffic violation. Just like the other versions, scammers are just trying to get your card information to make fraudulent charges.

Tips for consumers:

  • Parking regulations vary across Massachusetts. If in doubt, call your local parking department and ask about the ticket you received. But be sure to call the number listed on the official website or go to the office in person.
  • Most municipalities will accept payment by check. If you’re being told its cash or credit card only, that’s a red flag.
  • Some municipalities use third-party companies for ticket collections. Municipalities that outsource ticket payments will usually link to these sites from their own webpage. If you can’t find it, call your city or town hall to confirm the website.
  • Do not click on links in unsolicited emails. It could be a virus.
  • Never provide your personal information over the phone without verifying the identity of the caller. Ask them to tell you where the ticket was issued, what offense you committed, and what the license plate and make of your car are. If simple questions cannot be answered, report it as a scam.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for all Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Program and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

 

 

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