Parking Boot Scam Raises Questions


Parking Boot Scam Raises Questions

It has been reported that parking boot scammers have struck in Austin, Texas. The Austin Transportation Department has been contacted by residents who believe their cars were illegally detained, says

In the scam, officials said a warning was posted on the vehicle directing the owner to pay a fee by calling a private phone number. Officials said they tried to call the number, but no one picked up.

The article doesn’t explain how the scam victims managed to free their vehicles, how much it cost them or who retrieved the ransom. It does offer a phone number for anyone who thinks they are being or gave been scammed. It also provides an image of a legitimate parking violation warning from the city.

The plot thickens, however, because city officials also commented that booting and towing are legal on private property in the state of Texas if proper signage is in place. The people who say they’ve been scammed might have been mistaken about their right to park where they parked as well as the consequences of parking where they parked. It remains to be seen.

I thought I’d heard of every parking scam out there. This one seems unlikely because I don’t think parking boots are cheap. Scammers are more likely to go for low-overhead deception than a racket that requires an investment up front. I also think the part of the scheme where they have to return to the scene of the crime to gather a payout is another disincentive.

I’m curious, but I won’t hold my breath for a follow up article. I say once police have gathered a few more facts, they’ll find the scammers acted legally.

Read the article here.

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John Van Horn

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