This should truly go without saying, but you should always check into what you’re paying, before you pay it. Residents in Santa Cruz, California are being asked to look again at their recently paid parking tickets after a teenager is arrested in a parking ticket scam, according to NBC Bay Area.
Investigators with the Santa Cruz Police Department say 19-year-old Damien Vela was arrested last week for creating fake parking tickets and placing them on vehicles parked at or near local beaches. The tickets do have some similar characteristics that could make them appear authentic to the average driver. They even came with QR codes that when scanned, would lead the victim to a website that the teen created where they could pay their “fine.”
But if you look closer, as the photo posted by the Santa Cruz PD compares the two, there’s some considerable differences (including those cartoonish palm trees).
Police caught the 19-year-old placing tickets on cars the night of December 21 and booked him for unlawful use of a computer system and attempted fraud. In the police report, it says Vela admitted to placing the tickets, but denied making any money from them. At the time of this writing, investigators are unsure how many vehicles received the fake parking tickets, or how many individuals may have actually paid them.
The scam is just one of many parking scams that have been popping up in the last year or so across the country. Experts warn to be wary of both suspicious websites, random QR codes and websites reached through QR codes that could ask for valuable information.