A 19-year-old who, according to Santa Cruz, California, police, created fake parking tickets and pasted them on parked cars close to the beach was placed under arrest. Victims may scan a QR code on the fake parking tickets to pay the fake fines. Sadly, it is yet unclear how many fake tickets the suspect issued.
Late at night according to Santa Cruz police, the suspect placed fake tickets on cars that directed victims to a website where they could pay a fine.
Santa Cruz Police released images of a phoney ticket next to a real one to warn drivers about the fraud and to help them in identifying if they were a victim. On the evening of December 21, the police received complaints of fake parking tickets being issued to cars in the beach area.
The tickets are roughly the size of a receipt and appear to have been placed in a handmade envelope. Each ticket has the title “Santa Cruz Parking Pay” printed on it in what looks like the Comic Sans font, which is bordered by two palm trees.
However, the attacker was clearly less than a master criminal, as the police arrested their 19-year-old suspect on the same day they got their first reports of the incident. According to the department’s report release, the suspect, Damian Vela, agreed to spreading the fake parking tickets but denied receiving cash.
This is only the most recent incident of a scam using fake parking tickets. In recent years, police departments around the country have warned drivers about scams involving parking fines, including Washington, D.C, Pensacola, Florida, and Jefferson City, Missouri, among others. Along with the fake tickets that Santa Cruz drivers discovered on their cars, scams can also use emails or text messages.
Author of “How to be the World’s Smartest Traveler” and consumer advocate Christopher Elliott mentioned:
There is a certain arbitrariness about parking tickets, and scammers take advantage of that. You get a ticket on your windshield, and you’re likely to just pay it.
The fraud is just one of several parking scams that have started appearing in recent months around the nation. In addition to random QR codes, experts advise being aware of websites that may request sensitive information.
Scams like these work on exactly the same principal as phishing emails and other digital social engineering scams.
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