Merton Council is warning Blue Badge holders to be vigilant of a parking scam in which fraudsters are pretending to be a Council parking attendant to con people out of money.
The Council’s parking and community safety teams have had several reports that the man, who is dressed in a similar manner to real parking wardens, is approaching Blue Badge holders and telling them there is a new council policy that they need to register their vehicle at a parking machine. This is completely false.
In neighbouring boroughs, the motorist is told to put their card into the machine and enter their PIN in front of the thief. He then says the card has been ‘swallowed’ and encourages the victim to leave – leaving him in possession of both the card and its PIN. One victim had £3000 withdrawn from their bank account following the fraud. Please note however that Merton’s machines only accept coins as the payment method and there is no slot into which a card can be inserted or a keypad into which a PIN can be entered.
Merton Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Equalities, Councillor Edith Macauley, said: “I would like to reassure our residents and all blue badge holders that we are doing everything we can to stop this person. Merton Council would like to confirm that there have been no new changes made to the Blue Badge policy. Along with our neighbouring boroughs, all parking enforcement officers will be keeping a close eye out for this man, and we have alerted the local Safer Neighbourhood Teams so that the police can help us track him down.
“In the meantime, I would urge everyone to stay alert to suspicious activity. Never enter your PIN into any form of payment machine in view of anyone else wherever you are. If you are concerned you have been conned, contact your bank immediately so that your card can be cancelled.”
If you would like more information about protecting yourself from scams visit Merton trading standards or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For Blue Badge scheme queries visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/bluebadge