Warning to drivers across the UK over fake parking apps

Warning to drivers across the UK over fake parking apps
Drivers are falling victim to fake online parking apps which trick users into spending money on unwanted fees and subscription costs.

An investigation by consumer champion Which? has found an increasing number of fake adverts for popular parking payment apps at the top of online search results, which trick drivers into giving their bank details to third-party websites.

The fake websites impersonate popular parking payment apps by using similar wording and branding. The scam websites also claim to offer a 'free download' but the small print then commits the user to expensive monthly subscription fees. Which? says similar tactics have been used to trick drivers to pay for fake clean air zone charges, like London ULEZ.

Drivers are being urged by Which? to only use official Apple or Google Play app stores and avoid online search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing, when attempting to download parking apps.

A challenge for the genuine parking app companies is the volume of fake websites, with scammers launching new sites within weeks of the fraudulent ones being removed.

The research from Which? has found that there were a higher number of fake adverts on Google compared to its competitors.

In response, Google said it removes adverts that violate its policies and that under its misrepresentation policy, it doesn't allow ads that deceive users by excluding relevant product information or providing misleading information.

Google and the other search engines – along with social media giant Meta – will be legally obliged to remove scams and other harmful content under the new Online Safety Act.

If you are searching for a parking app on Google and come across a fake advert, you can report it to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Have you been a victim of a fake parking payment app website? Share your experiences in the comments section below

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