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Be aware of an upsurge in parking machine fraud

Release Date: 12 January 2021

Motorists are urged to be wary of thieves targeting people at Pay and Display parking machines.

The Council’s parking and community safety teams have received several reports in recent weeks of parking meter bank card fraud in the borough. The latest scam involves criminals stealing the victim’s bank card by pretending that there is a problem with the parking machine and informing the victim that the machine has swallowed their bank card.

The latest victims have had thousands of pounds stolen from their bank account within minutes of the crimes being committed. The crimes have taken place in Kew, Twickenham and Teddington, but they could happen anywhere in the borough.

Motorists are reminded that it impossible for a parking meter machine to swallow bank cards as Pay and Display machines are manufactured so that cards can only be inserted part of the way. If your card disappears, you have been victim of fraud and should contact your bank immediately. If anyone approaches you when you go to pay for parking please be cautious and never insert your card into a parking machine when someone you do not know is present.

The Council has an alternative system for cashless parking called RingGo – it is a quick, easy to use mobile phone service, which lets you pay for your parking with a credit or debit card, rather than using a Pay and Display machine.

More information on how to register to use the free RingGo service.

Cllr Alexander Ehmann, Chair of the Transport and Air Quality Committee for Richmond Council, 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 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. If you think you might have fallen victim to this scam, contact your bank immediately to cancel your bank card.'

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact  Fenna Maynard on 020 8487 5182.

Reference: P017/21

Updated: 24 March 2021