Parking scams: the case of the fake parking attendant

October 7, 2013

Over the last few years, we’ve seen some creative and inglorious parking scams, but none seem so threatening as duplicitous parking attendants and valets. You’re often in a hurry to hop out of your car and get to an appointment or activity; in that rush some con artists are taking advantage of harried drivers. Be on your guard and get informed: fake parking attendants are more common than you’d think.

Parking attendant posers

Patrons at Fisherman’s Wharf were, until recently, being duped by a con artist who posed as a parking attendant in San Francisco’s historical fishing district. George Anderson, a 50-year-old con artist, is infamous for masquerading as a parking lot attendant and charging a fee from parkers in exchange for a fake receipt.

Parking lots taking you for a ride. Photo by JEKruger

Some “parking attendants” are just taking you for a ride (photo by JEKruger).

In Houston, a 76-year-old woman who parked her vehicle at the Ace parking lot on Fannin, was cheated by two scam artists who posed at parking attendants and took a parking fee from her. The woman later found a boot in her vehicle, not knowing why it had happened.

The woman first gave $20 to a man who posed as the parking attendant and then paid $10 to another parking attendant after being told the first guy was a crook. Carol Templeton, who had now paid for parking twice, later found her vehicle booted for which she paid a $100 fine. As it turns out, both the men were running the parking scam. Templeton parted with a total of $130! The vehicle was booted by a legitimate parking company. “This is as bad as it gets when you’re getting conned out of $30 and now you have to pay a $100 fine,” said Carol Templeton.

Avoiding parking scams

If there’s an option, people should always pay the machines in a parking lot and display the receipt on their dashboard window.  “Never give money to a person claiming to be an attendant unless that person is in uniform.”

The lesson to be learned from this? Machines are way more trustworthy than humans! Well, not quite. Always pay attention to the signs installed by the parking lot authorities.

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Category: Regulations

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