Illegal parking scam warning for car owners in South Holland
Drivers across South Holland are being warned about a scam where fraudsters pretend to be police officers or traffic wardens.
The warning follows a rise in reports nationally where victims are approached in car parks and then told they have parked illegally or broken a speed limit.
Fraudsters also trick their targets into believing that a photograph of their car has been taken as 'evidence', before they are warned about a high penalty fine they will face unless a smaller, upfront fee is paid straight away.
Drivers are then told to put their bank card in a parking meter and type in its PIN (personal identification number).
However, the parking meters have been tampered with by the fraudsters suspect in order to retain the card so that once the driver puts it in the machine and asked for the PIN, the fraudsters look over the shoulders to get it.
A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: "The card is retained by the machine and victims are told by the suspect to seek help, either from the company who operates the parking meter or their bank."
People are advising people not to pay any "fine" unless it has been confirmed by South Holland District Council.
Action Fraud has confirmed more than 33 reports of scams related to parking "fines" since January 2019, with a number of those targeted having been elderly and vulnerable.
Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said: "This is a highly planned fraud that takes advantage of the pressure victims feel to pay the fine, especially by those who are elderly and vulnerable.
"It is important that people shield their PINs from view when using an cash machine.
"We are also urging people to be particularly cautious of anyone claiming to be from a local authority.
"If in doubt, verify the person’s identity with your local council or police force."
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.