The pay-a-parking-ticket-and-get-your-computer-hacked scam


You think you're mad when you get a parking or speeding ticket? Imagine how steamed you might be if you took that parking home and tried to pay for it online, only to learn later that it was a fake web site, and that your computer has been hacked?

Well, that has happened in Grand Forks, North Dakota, according to a story on the AARP Bulletin web site.

According to the AARP writer and author of Scam-Proof Your Life, Sid Kirchheimer, "scammers place phony parking tickets on cars, which direct their owners to an 'official' website that claims to have photos of the alleged violation. Once they go to the website, victims inadvertently download a nasty virus that can quickly cost them plenty."

The virus apparently, among other things, can capture the user's keystrokes to reveal online passwords and account numbers.

Evil, isn't it? Fortunately, one helpful tip the article offers: If you get a ticket on your car, no matter how official it may look, if it directs you to a web site that ends in a .com instead of .gov (which a police station or city government would have), that's a good sign that you're being conned.

And so far, this scam has only been reported in Grand Forks, and so if you live elsewhere, and you've received a ticket on your car lately, it's almost certainly real. Still, if this keeps up, what a great excuse for not paying a parking ticket.

(But if you use that excuse, you didn't get the idea from me.)