Scammers are always looking for new ways to con people and ready to adopt their methods to current local or world situations. During the covid crises local city councils suffered a substantial loss in revenues. One big part of that loss was from parking tickets. Because of restrictive measures and lockdowns people don’t travel and commute as before. In the UK councils lost over £41 million compared to previous years. That trend didn’t miss Wales and in that same period Cardiff suffered a loss of £512,730.00.
Councils confronted with that kind of loss are more dedicated than ever to issuing as many parking fines as possible. So in that swarm of fines sent every day scammers found their hiding place. They impersonate government employees and demand payment for parking fines.
All drivers are being warned about this scam. If you received a suspicious email ignore it, and don’t give out your bank details. There are ways to make sure that the email is fake.
Some of the people who received this scam email said that spelling errors raised their suspicion. Scammers misspelled some words including: ‘penalty’ and ‘informations’. Apart from bad spelling, always look at the sender’s details. Although they mention official institutions in text (such as: HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS)) their email address reveals that they re not a government employee.
The Mirror published the content of one of those scam emails and it reads: “Penality Charge Notice. You have an unpaid ticket. Please find more informations by clicking here,”. Beware that this is only one example and the content could vary.
HMCTS has alerted the public about this kind of scam. Here is the part of that warning: “Fraudsters will copy the HMCTS logo and attempt to make the notice look genuine.
“Any genuine email from HMCTS will be sent from an @justice.gov.uk email address. If in doubt, hover over the email address to see the true identity.
“If you receive an email on a phone, you can check the address by clicking on ‘display name’.”
Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET, said: “It is important to take a few seconds to look into the legitimacy of any email, especially if it urgently demands a payment of any kind. All too often we are caught up in a moment of panic and can easily click on genuine-looking links, firing off personal and financial information.
“Cybercriminals are persistently sending out campaigns like this – casting the net far and wide in the hopes that someone will fall victim before realising their fate.”
“The vast majority of phishing emails still use random – and sometimes obvious – fake sender email addresses when clicked on, so it is important to start here.”
“However, if you are ever confronted with an urgent email requiring payment, choose another method of verification such as searching for the company in question online and call their helpline rather than communicating via the suspicious email.”