Bogus "pay by phone parking receipts" doing the rounds by email and targeted at UK users are actually designed to spread malware, security watchers warn. The spam campaign is designed to trick recipients into viewing a fictitious list of parking transactions, contained in a malicious attachment. "Upon executing the malicious …
Two weeks ago I had 2 of these within about 20 minutes of each other.
What was particularly interesting was that the street shown in the text part of the message was less than half a mile from where I was in Pimlico. Could it be that some other app in my phone had sent my location to the spammers and they then produced me a tailor-made message?
The fact that I was on a bus and the parking cost was something like 30p told me that they were less than kosher messages. ( the attachment was labled 'your parking history' or words similar.)
Re: Interesting - "some other app"
So how would the scammers get your e-mail address and link it to a 'mark' in the area? (Wonders why many Android apps want access to my contacts list.) It actually sounds like one of those strange coincidences.
Not just London
There are a number of companies that offer phone to pay for parking services up and down the country.
One of the staff had an email that was supposed to be from one of these; had the logo and everything to make it look genuine. The only thing that stopped him opening the attachment was that part of the text was written rather badly and he spotted a spelling error of the company name so it didn't match the logo.
I try not to keep warning people about scam emails (on the basis that people might think I'm crying wolf) but I tend to send a message out at this time of year just to warn people to be on their guard.
Re: Not just London
"There are a number of companies that offer phone to pay for parking services up and down the country."
And all the ones I've seen have been shockingly poor. Complicated, user unfriendly crap requiring you to arse around "registering" a load of irrelevant details, plus half a page of card details etc via a full blown web page designed such that it is only useable on a 27" desktop monitor. This obviously requires a data connection, something often not very reliable in a multi-storey car park, so it is slow and tedious to do, even on a top flight smartphone. As for the touch tone systems - words fail me, even impolite ones. The sort of customer experience that makes you wonder who they let into IT these days.
Now, I don't even bother with anything that says "pay by phone", because I'm confident that the developers will have produced a pig of a system that is slow, unduly complex and works unreliably. And the pity is, it must be possible to implement this by sending a premium rate text with your registration number with a car park code, or something similarly simple and user friendly.
Re: Not just London
I've used APCOA and Ringo; both set-up by mobile phone. Found them to be really easy to use at a number of locations. Also used it to extend parking when I realised I'd been a twerp and hadn't paid for the fifth day of parking. Great as well for when you are in a hurry for the train and don't have the cash to pay the parking up front. I did use their website to download invoices for the parking, so that I could reclaim my expenses; found it very easy to do.
I even managed to get some others from within the company to try it out; in all but one instance, they found it really easy to use. The only one of them with a problem was someone that seems to struggle with any form of technology (the one that insisted on having a laptop, but then never took it off the desk docking station - ever).
not just an email scam
Fake parking notices are put up with helpful phone numbers to ring to pay for your parking by credit card. Bye bye credit card.
Re: not just an email scam
Seen one down my street (although probably applied to the car when it was else where). Someone just put a bit of red paper with a B/W printout of a phone number and "This is a fine from the police for parking on yellow lines, call me to pay" then had a local home number for a Mr Smith. I really hope no one fell for it.
(From the linked site) "You can access a full list of your parking transactions in the attached file."
"[...]so the scam messages are more plausible than is normal for malware ruses, especially in cases where recipients of the dodgy messages happen to live in London or have driven there lately."
Someone who had parked in London recently may or may not bother, depending on whether they're the sort to keep meticulous records.
The bigger target is people who have never parked in London, since the fact they allegedly had a history of parking there would be something of a surprise and maybe worth investigating.
What I always find hilarious is that the emails invariably do the following:
• arrive in my Hotmail inbox, which has been derelict since before I could drive
• list the license plate of a car which I scrapped in 2009
• list a location in London that not only have I never been to, I have never heard of
• list an 'offence date' that is not only impossible, but has on one occasion been AFTER the email was sent
Combined they make a brilliant read, oh and the little malbyte that tries to open really excels at failing to launch in a Linux/MacOS environment.
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