Those busy content creators at Leasing Options have been checking on the latest scams which target drivers on holiday, in the UK or abroad. So if you have a summer road trip lined up it’s worth noting these dodgy tactics.
- Lose £100 to car parking pay by phone scams
When parking up, beware of a prevalent car parking scam wherein unsuspecting motorists are charged when they scan a QR code for payment. Some individuals affix stickers with QR codes that lead car park users to input their personal information on fraudulent web sites, resulting in deductions from their bank accounts.
What’s more is drivers are likely to be fined (anywhere between £70 and £100 on average) as they’ve not paid for parking through the official vendor.
To steer clear of this deceptive scheme, check car parking terminals for anything that could have been tampered with and if uncertain, check with an attendant, browse the web for confirmation or move to a different car park.
Fake toll scam texts and websites could lead to being fined £100
Motorists travelling journeys across toll roads are warned to be extra careful during the payment process as opportunistic fraudsters are capitalising on the shift towards cashless toll systems. The ability to pay toll charges after travelling by card has led scammers to create counterfeit websites and sending text messages to travellers, deceitfully requesting payment for their travels.
The reality is that drivers, falling prey to this scheme, end up paying over double the actual toll fee, only to then be slapped with a late payment charge as they’ve not paid the official toll payment.
To shield yourself from this scam, it is advised to conduct independent research. When paying online, ensure that you do so on the official toll website, adhering to any instructions for the optimal payment process. Should doubts arise concerning payment via text message or online, consult their contact centre for full clarification.
Ghost broking scams leave you with six licence points and a £300 fine
Should you need to insure someone in your car for splitting up the length of a long road trip, exercise caution when choosing your insurance provider.
Ghost brokers are fraudsters who pose as genuine insurance brokers to sell too-good-to-be true premiums. Typically, ghost brokers promote their services through money-saving forums and websites, luring unsuspecting drivers into purchasing policies that ultimately render them uninsured. If caught by the police, motorists could face a potential £300 fine and six penalty points on their licence, thereby making future insurance premiums even more expensive in future.
To spot a ghost broking scam, carry out sufficient research to determine whether the business is certified by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the governing body of financial service companies. It’s advisable to refrain from getting insurance from anyone on money saving forums, no matter how good the deal, and shop for the best deals using reputable comparison sites instead.
Check petrol pumps for skimmers to avoid personal information being stolen
Contrary to popular belief, the presence of skimmers (devices used for illegally obtaining card details) is not limited to cash machines alone, but also extends to pay-at-pump terminals at car garages across the UK.
Car garages without attendants are particularly vulnerable to such ‘skimming’ incidents and when motorists are using their card to pay, the skimmer records their card details illegally. Should fraudsters get their hands on your personal details, they could sell them online or use them for future purchases.
When refuelling and paying at the pump, you can avoid credit card skimmers by checking the terminal for any obvious signs of tampering. These signs can be as simple as a different colour or material or a certain part of the dashboard or if any graphics aren’t aligned properly. If that’s the case, refrain from using that particular terminal.
Messy mechanics scamming drivers out of hundreds before road trips
When it comes to having your car serviced prior to embarking on a long road trip, stick with a tried and trusted mechanic to avoid being unnecessarily charged. Leasing Options’ recommendation comes as one TikTok user (Josh Regis) shared that mechanics often charge for work that your car doesn’t really need. Supporting this claim, another commenter shared her personal experience of taking her car to the garage due to suspected brake pad wear, only to find the issue unresolved when she had picked up the vehicle and paid upwards of £80 for the work.
If you’re in need of a service or to get your car checked before a long road trip, use only a reputable mechanic that comes recommended by other drivers. If you’re sceptical about the work that has taken place, ask to be shown the issue that was fixed and to see any old parts.
Clean Air Zone scams targeting unsuspecting drivers
Following the success of London’s Low Emission Zones, Clean Air Zones have been implemented in cities throughout the country.
As a result, opportunists are sending text messages to drivers in cities such as Newcastle, urging them to click on links and pay their clean air zone charges. However, the catch is that private cars are not obligated to pay any tolls across select clean air zones; the charge solely applies to taxis and buses. After paying the fake charge, drivers are then subject to a £120 fine due to not paying for the correct fee.
To avoid falling victim to deceptive clean air zone notifications, it is advisable to familiarise yourself with the regulations of your destination’s clean air zone to determine whether you are subject to any charges.