Parking scam targets unsuspecting downtown drivers - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Parking scam targets unsuspecting downtown drivers

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The Music City Center opens in just two weeks, and parking in downtown Nashville is expected to be tougher to find than ever.

But police are now focusing on a different sort of parking problem, and it may have drivers thinking twice before handing over cash for a parking spot.

Laura Kurzer is just the latest victim in what has been an ongoing problem that is likely to only get worse. She said she pulled into a parking lot along Fourth Avenue North and was approached by a man wearing a Central Parking jacket.

She paid him $10 to park and even received a parking pass in return.

"He reminded us to lock the car and have a good time, and we walked away," Kurzer said.

When their night on the town was over, Kurzer and her friends discovered they had been given a $67 parking ticket.

It turns out that man in the jacket didn't work for Central Parking at all. He was an imposter who took advantage.

"Don't give cash to people who approach your vehicles," said Metro police Commander Jason Reinbold.

Reinbold said police are aware of a number of different thieves targeting unsuspecting drivers in downtown parking lots, and many times those thieves have been homeless.

"We need to follow our instincts, and if it doesn't seem right, go somewhere else or call someone over and make sure you are in a safe environment," Reinbold said.

Kurzer said after her friend called Central Parking and explained what happened, the company reduced the parking violation from nearly $70 down to $10.

Unfortunately, they had to learn the hard way that sometimes people aren't always who they say they are.

"We will never do that again," Kurzer said.

Channel 4 News called Central Parking for comment on this story, but so far we have not heard back.

Metro police want you to be careful so you don't become the next parking victim. Their best advice is to always ask for a receipt.

Also, if you park in a lot where there is a pay machine, know that someone shouldn't be coming up to you asking for money.

Finally, if something just doesn't feel right, it probably isn't, so don't hesitate to call police in that situation.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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