Drivers warned of ‘spoof’ parking app scam: Driver charged £230 from bank account after thinking she paid for £1 a day parking
- The driver was using what she said was a real app when she paid to park
- After entering details for the £1 per day car park, £230 was debited from her account
- The council, which operates the car park in Wales, said motorists should be extra vigilant that they are using real parking apps
- Parking app provider said it is aware of fake websites pretending to be their own
Drivers have been warned to be extra vigilant when using parking apps after drivers charged £230 from her bank account after trying to pay for a £1 a day parking space.
The woman fell victim to the scam when she tried to buy a ticket in an old parking lot in Somerfield in Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, Wales, using an application she downloaded on her smartphone.
A total of three payments have been made by fraudsters under the name ‘The Happy Hormone’.
The company responsible for the official parking payment app – PayByPhone – has warned motorists that several fake websites have been created in an attempt to impersonate their own and trick drivers into entering their bank details. .
Scam Alert: A driver had been charged £230 from her back account after using what she believed to be legitimate parking app to pay for this £1 per day car park in Connah’s Quay, Wales
An investigation was launched after three payments of £1, £59.99 and £170 were debited from the victim’s bank account shortly after he attempted to pay to park.
The woman, who lives in Manchester, posted about the scam on Facebook as a warning to other motorists.
She said she was visiting her hometown of Connah’s Quay and decided to stop in Somerfield’s old car park, which is currently destined for a new Lidl store.
Motorists can pay 50 cents to park for four hours or £1 for the whole day at the council-run facility.
She wrote: ‘I used the app to pay. I ended up getting scammed and £230 came out of my bank.
The first withdrawal was £1, the second was £59.99 and the third was £170.
‘It shows up on your account as the Happy Hormone.
“They charge the money from your bank account as ‘music’.
‘Be careful everyone. I had never used an app to park there and I will never use an app to park anywhere again.”
It is believed that the user has been duped by a fraudulent website masquerading as PayByPhone, the official parking payment operator
She was quick to raise the fraudulent activity with her bank, NatWest, which investigated the complaint but could not identify who had taken her money.
They canceled her cards, passed the case on to their specialized fraud department and promised to refund the stolen money to her account.
Regular users of the parking lot say they’ve never had any problems there, which could likely indicate that the victim had been scammed by a fake website.
However, reading about the scam has scared some motorists who responded to the post on Facebook.
‘Another reason not to pay via app at parking garages’ posted one person.
“Stay with cash or, if absolutely necessary, use a card payment option,” she added.
PayByPhone has urged drivers to be ‘vigilant’ that they are using the genuine website and app and said it is ‘in the process’ to shut down fraudulent sites pretending to be their own
Flintshire Council is investigating whether the woman used the official app advertised in the car park called PayByPhone.
It is operated by Volkswagen Financial Services AG and is used by municipalities across Great Britain.
Katie Wilby, Flintshire’s chief officer for Street Scene and Transportation, said: “We have been warned of a potentially fraudulent parking app, which we are currently investigating with our official provider, following a customer report that she experienced online banking fraud when she tried to pay for parking recently.
“We want to warn people to be extra careful and wary of scammers when paying for your parking space online. Make sure to use only the official website and app which is https://paybyphone.co.uk/.
“Any illegal activity identified will be reported to the police.”
PayByPhone has urged drivers to ‘be vigilant’ that they are using the genuine website and app, adding: ‘We are in the process of closing these fraudulent sites.’
Six tips when paying for parking via an app
1. Always check the spelling of websites carefully when looking for a parking app on your phone
2. Do not click on links for password resets, if you have not performed a reset yourself
3. Never share password reset links or codes with anyone
4. Do not provide information to agents by phone, text, email or other means if you have not made the request
5. Real parking payment apps will never ask you for personal information unsolicited
6. Always keep your devices and apps up to date