Scammers Use Parking Tickets For Cyber Crimes

Friday, April 17th 2009, 4:20 pm
By: News On 6

By Scott Thompson and Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A new parking ticket scam could soon make its way to Oklahoma. It's already ripping people off on the east and west coasts.

You've been shopping and come out to your car and find what looks like a legitimate parking ticket on your windshield. It says to find out about the ticket, go to a website. When you go to the website, the trouble begins.

Scammers are always creating new ways to catch us off guard and to steal our money and identity.  Now, they've come up with a way to unleash an identity stealing computer virus from the last place you'd expect an attack:  a parking lot.

It's already happened in North Dakota.

"They have learned what things will lure people to websites and traffic citations are the latest. They'll continue to evolve so beware of scams that are out there and don't fall for them," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Tim Stadler.

Once a person goes to the website for the fake ticket, victims inadvertently download a nasty virus or spyware.  Police say it's a clever scheme because it merges our real life with the virtual one, so we don't see it coming.

"There are two ways spyware works; they actually watch you online, your screen. The other is keystroke. Any time you press a key, like your bank login ID or password, it uploads it and sends it to the bad guys so after you log off, they can log in and steal your money," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Tim Stadler.

Some of the websites even tell you a virus has been found on your computer and try to sell you worthless repair software.

If you do find a ticket on your windshield, call the police department to confirm it's legit or take it by the police station or court clerk's office and verify it's real.

That's much safer than going online.