City scrambles to remove phony parking meter stickers that direct people to fraudulent site
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - City crews are scrambling to remove bogus stickers on city parking meters that direct consumers to make payments to a fraudulent website.
The city says scanning the QR codes on the phony stickers will direct consumers to a sham website — called ParkSmarter.app — which asks them for payment and personal information.
They say the phony stickers are difficult to distinguish from the official stickers, which direct consumers to the official city website — ParkSmarter.com — which only provides billing information and the location of the meter.
“You really had to have an eagle eye to determine that they were different, and most people wouldn’t have noticed on that,” said Roger Morton, director of the city Department of Transportation Services.
Of about 1,700 meters, it’s unclear how many have been compromised. But the city says its staffers were out on Wednesday removing the fraudulent stickers after receiving a tip from an anonymous source the day before.
The Department of Transportation Services is also warning the public not to download any of the apps for now.
“Until we update it ... my advice to them right now would be don’t use the app at this point,” said Morton.
The scam comes as the city has stopped collecting parking fees from half of its 4,200 parking meters in the downtown and Waikiki area.
Those meters take credit card payment. But because the city’s vendor Verizon discontinued the 2G and 3G service used by the meters, the city is not enforcing payment on the digital meters.
The meters will be out of service for up to nine months.
As for the remaining 2,100 old-school meters that only take coins — and those that require payments at a kiosk — the city says it still is enforcing payment for those meters.
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