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‘It makes no sense’: French-language parking scam targeting Hampstead

PUBLISHED: 13:16 09 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:41 09 July 2018

Police warn Hampstead residents to watch out for a new parking meter scam. Picture: Sam Volpe

Police warn Hampstead residents to watch out for a new parking meter scam. Picture: Sam Volpe

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Watch out for a bizarre French-language fraud when you’re parking your car in Hampstead.

That’s the message from Hampstead Town Police as reports of a new con using parking meters in the area mount up.

The fraud involves a man who asks unsuspecting passers-by, in French, if they can help him pay to park his car That’s the message from Hampstead Town Police as reports of a new con involving parking meters and a man pretending to be a French tourist mount up.

The fraud involves a man who asks unsuspecting passers-by, in French, if they can help him pay to park his car using their card - either out of good will or because he will pay them back in cash.

PC Safwan Karim told the Ham&High: “Be very dubious of anyone who wants you to pay for their parking ticket using your own card - be it out of good will or claiming to pay you back in cash.

“On the parking meters and on the parking street signs there is a number that you can direct them to call if they have any issues with parking or you can tell them to wait for a parking warden.”

One victim, Richard Townley, 72, of Hampstead Garden Suburb, said the French introduction had caught him off-guard.

He said: “I was in Hamstead High Street almost opposite the post office when I was approached. A younger man spoke to me in French, and even now that makes no sense.

“He wanted to park there and what he then said to me was that he would pay me back if I paid for his parking on my card.”

Richard explained that when he put his card into the machine the transaction failed and would not return his card, and he was certain that the conman had been watching his pin number.

He added “I must have been distracted for a second and he’d done something to the machine.”

“I spoke to the florists on the High Street straight afterwards, apparently he’d been in their previously and had had a credit card, so it was all nonsense.”

“I was lucky, as soon as he’d disappeared I had a feeling something was off and immediately cancelled my card, but I think this is something everyone in Hampstead should be aware of.”

Mr Townley described the fraudster who spoke to him as white, seemingly French, and in his 30s.

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