Saturday, August 6, 2022

RIDE UP THE WALL Urgent warning after driver was scammed out of £230 by scammer via parking app

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A LOCAL council has issued a stark warning after a driver was scammed out of £230 via a parking app.

Flintshire Council launched an investigation after a scammer known as ‘The Happy Hormone’ took three payments from a woman’s bank account.

They are investigating whether the woman used the official PayByPhone app advertised in the parking lot.

The woman, who lives in Manchester, was visiting her hometown of Connah’s Quay in North Wales and decided to stop at the old Somerfield car park

There, motorists can pay 50p to park for four hours or £1 for the whole day at the community-run facility.

She posted on Facebook and explained: “I used the app to pay. I ended up being scammed and £230 came through my bank.

“The first payout was £1, the second £59.99 and the third £170.

“It shows up in your account as a happy hormone.

“You request the money from your bank account as ‘music’.

“Just be careful everyone. I have never used an app to park there and I will never use an app to park anywhere again.”

Nat West quickly investigated her complaint but was unable to determine who had taken her money.

They blocked their cards, referred the case to their fraud department, and promised to return the stolen money to their account.

Regular users of the parking lot say they’ve never had any problems there, but the scam has frightened some motorists.

“Even more reasons not to pay via app in parking lots,” one person posted.

“Keep cash on you or if it’s really necessary, use a card payment option,” said another.

Operated by Volkswagen Financial Services AG, the app is used by local authorities across the UK.

Katie Wilby, Flintshire’s Chief Officer for Streetscene and Transportation, said: “We have been made aware of a potentially fraudulent parking app which we are currently investigating with our official provider, after a customer reported that she was attempting to use online banking Pay for parking scam recently.

“We would like to warn people to be extra careful and beware of scammers when paying for their parking online.

PayByPhone also warned customers that several fake websites were created to impersonate its website.

It urged users to be “vigilant,” adding, “We are in the process of shutting down these rogue websites.”

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