Parking Lot and Street Scams

Scams in the parking lot

It’s broad daylight and you don’t expect anyone will rob you, especially in a busy parking lot.

You finish shopping and walking to your car. You open your car door and some stranger walks up behind your car to squirt some liquid on it. Then the stranger walks up to you and says your brake fluid is leaking (but the fluid has nothing to do with your car). The stranger tells you he’s a mechanic or poses as a parking lot attendant or a by stander, but he’s really a con artist.

You step out of the car with your door still open or unlock to check the fluid with the stranger. While you’re checking this out, a second con artist quickly walks in and takes your purse, other belongings or items you just bought. By the time you check things out and get back to your car, you wouldn’t know what hit you.

This tactic is to sneak up behind your car to squirt some liquid under your car and the scam artist goes up to you to let you know something is leaking. The scam artist claims he’s a mechanic or a parking lot attendant or he’s concerned for your safety to make them self seem legitimate and keep your guard down.

The most common method used by scam artists is to instill fear and to get people in a heightened emotional state. When you are in a heightened emotional state, people tend to make poor decisions because they are worried about their safety and that worried thought hijacks any logical reason.

There are other methods scam artists use to get you out of your car too. The scammers may approach using the liquid method, smoke, or make up some other signs of trouble with your car.

Fake accidents in parking lot and street

You’re backing up your car in a parking lot or on the street. You check and double check that everything is clear. You step on the gas pedal to reverse the car then you hear a bump coming from behind.

You get out of the car and someone seems to have been hit. The person looks to be in pain and wants compensation from you or to use that incident to file claims on your insurance policy.

Luckily there are surveillance cameras in many parking lots and you can ask for a copy of the video. Often these kinds of scams can bust the con artist.

Parking lot speaker scams

You’re walking on the street or somewhere in a parking lot. A van drives up to you, the door opens, and someone inside tells you he works at an audio store and has a brand new $500 speaker for sale. However, he says he is going to sell them to you for only $200.

The man in the van opens the box to let you see the speakers. The speakers look new and good. You pay the $200 and take the speakers home, still wrapped in the box. You take them out and find the speakers are inferior products or made with shinny plywood with nothing inside.

Besides speakers watch out for worthless jewelry, fake flat screen TVs.

Fake parking tickets

You park your car somewhere unfamiliar to you. There is a ticket on your windshield wiper.

The ticket conveniently shows the website where you can pay for the parking violation and if you visit the website you may be a victim of identity theft when you pay with your credit card.

Real Life Parking Lot and Street Scams

The call comes in. The deep, calm voice of a corporate manager is on the other end of the line. He explains that someone stole a customer’s wallet from the store where you work and that $1,500 was missing from it when it was recovered and returned. He asks you to take the money from a safe at the store and deliver it to a person in a nearby parking lot. Read more here: Man arrested in store call scams: Workers tricked to deliver cash

According to police, a single suspect will contact the victim in a public place such as a grocery store or retail parking lot and show the resident a lottery ticket. The suspect often claims they are unable to collect the winnings due to a lack of citizenship or identification. Read more here: Scam artists targeting elderly residents

Earlier that day he was walking out of Walmart, 5501 Sherwood Way, when a man approached him and asked for a ride to a local motel. A second person approached the two in the motel parking lot, and the two persuaded the man to go to the bank and withdraw several thousand dollars to help them bring a large sum of cash into the United States from Africa, police said. Read more here: 3 men accused in financial scam

The flat-screen TVs looked real, and the price seemed too good to be true. They were labeled $1,999, but the man was selling them for $300 each. Shanae Johnson said she talked the man — who was selling them out of a Cadillac in a south Arlington parking lot — down $50 and bought two for $500. Read more here: Scam artist sells plywood TVs in Arlington

The white van speaker scam is a scam sales technique in which a salesman makes a buyer believe he is getting a good price on audio merchandise. Con artists in this type of scam call themselves “speakerguys” or “speakermen”. Read more here: White van speaker scam

If you haven’t been a victim of a parking lot scam yet – count yourself lucky. Parking lots have become the favourite haunt of scamsters looking to con the gullible. XPRESS picks out the top five rip-offs you may come across during Ramadan and provides tips on how to spot and avoid them. Read more here: Top 5 scams to watch out for

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