Warning over parking machine scam which could cost drivers thousands of pounds

man pays for parking at car parking meter
(Image credit: Alamy)

Drivers have been warned about a scam that targets people using parking payment machines.

Drivers are warned to take extra care when paying for car parking using on-street ticket machines after reports of a scam that could cost thousands of pounds.

Police issued a warning over Covid vaccine scam texts and now comes another warning but this time it's motorists who are directly at risk.

A spike in card robberies involving strangers who approach drivers at the machines claiming they don't work properly has been reported, tricking drivers into entering their bank cards to pay.

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It's understood that criminals are tampering with payment machines, which stops drivers from using cash, and instead, the cards are swallowed and later collected for fraud purposes.

And it's believed a similar technique could be used across the country after councils in London warned residents that victims could lose thousands of pounds from their bank account within minutes of losing their card.

Richmond Council in Greater London issued an alert to residents about the car parking machine scam on Thursday, 21 January, after a spike in card robberies in the area. The local authority's parking and community safety teams said they had received several reports of parking machine bank fraud across the borough.


Credit: Getty

Councillor Alexander Ehmann, Chair of the Transport and Air Quality Committee for Richmond Council warned drivers should take "extra care".

Councillor Ehmann said, "Until the criminals are caught please take extra care to be on guard against scammers and tell your friends and family, who might not have seen this warning message, to be careful too. We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights."

"We will be working with local police Safer Neighbourhoods Teams to put a stop to these crimes. In the meantime, please try to use contactless payments or cash at parking machines or use RingGo," he added. "If you think you might have fallen victim to this scam, contact your bank immediately to cancel your bank card."

In reference to the car parking machine scam, the council added that it is impossible for a pay and display machine to swallow a bank card under normal circumstances - because cards can only be inserted part of the way into the payment slot.

It comes after a similar scam was reported in Peterborough in 2019 with two drivers losing £700 and £530 after falling foul of the offence. In both cases, victims had their cards taken by the machine just seconds after attempting to make a payment. Police were told the victims were both approached by a man who claimed the machine was "not accepting cash".

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)