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Scam of the Week: Toronto Parking Infraction Text Scam

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Scam of the Week: Toronto Parking Infraction Text Scam

In our latest installment of “Scam of the Week,” we’re highlighting a particularly deceptive text message scam that has been making the rounds. This scam involves a fake notice of a parking infraction purportedly issued by the City of Toronto. Here’s the text message that was recently sent to me:

“Toronto-infractions: Your vehicle has been recorded by our speed monitoring camera exceeding the speed limit, going 42 km/h in a school zone. To settle this infraction without a court appearance, kindly visit https:// toronto-infractions . com  before May 21, 2024.”

The message was sent from the phone number: 12637786177.

Scam of the Week Toronto Parking Infraction Text Scam

 

How Text Scams Happen

Text scams, also known as SMS phishing or “smishing,” are designed to trick recipients into divulging personal information or making payments under false pretenses. These scams typically involve messages that appear to be from legitimate sources such as government agencies, banks, or well-known companies. The fraudulent messages often include links to fake websites designed to steal sensitive information.

How Often Do Text Scams Happen?

Text scams have been on the rise in recent years. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, thousands of Canadians fall victim to text scams annually, resulting in millions of dollars in losses. In 2022 alone, the Centre received over 6,000 reports of smishing scams, with reported losses exceeding $2 million.

Who Falls for Text Scams?

Text scams can target anyone, but certain demographics are more vulnerable. Elderly individuals and those who are less tech-savvy are particularly susceptible. However, even tech-savvy individuals can fall victim if the scam is sophisticated enough. Scammers often use fear tactics, such as threats of legal action or fines, to pressure recipients into acting quickly without verifying the authenticity of the message.

How to Tell if a Text Message is a Scam

Here are some tips to help you identify and avoid text message scams:

  • Check the Sender: Legitimate messages from government agencies or reputable companies usually come from official phone numbers or short codes, not random numbers.
  • Look for Typos and Errors: Scammers often make spelling and grammatical errors. Official communications are typically well-written.
  • Verify the Link: Before clicking on any link, hover over it to see the actual URL. Legitimate websites will have URLs that match the organization’s official site.
  • Avoid Urgent Language: Scammers often use urgent or threatening language to prompt immediate action. Take a moment to verify the information before responding.
  • Contact the Organization Directly: If you receive a suspicious message, contact the organization directly using a known and trusted phone number or website.
  • If you have not been to that location that is also a dead giveaway.

Statistics Behind Text Scams

  • Prevalence: Text message scams are one of the most common types of phishing scams, accounting for a significant portion of reported phishing incidents.
  • Financial Impact: In Canada, victims of text scams reported losses in the several millions.
  • Victim Demographics: While all age groups are affected, seniors are disproportionately targeted due to their perceived lack of technical knowledge.

The City of Toronto Parking Infraction Text Scam

The recent Toronto parking infraction text scam is a prime example of how scammers exploit fear and urgency to trick victims. By pretending to be an official notice from the City of Toronto, the scammers aim to create a sense of legitimacy and urgency. The link provided leads to a fake website designed to steal personal and financial information.

Protecting Yourself from Scams

If you receive a suspicious text message about a parking infraction or any other issue, here are steps to protect yourself:

  1. Do Not Click on Links: Avoid clicking on any links in the message. Instead, visit the official website of the organization mentioned.
  2. Report the Scam: Report the scam to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and your mobile carrier.
  3. Block the Number: Block the sender’s number to prevent further messages.
  4. Use Security Software: Install and maintain security software on your devices to help detect and block phishing attempts.

Private Investigators and Scam Detection

Private investigators, especially those in Toronto, are well-versed in identifying and mitigating scams. At The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., we offer services to help individuals and businesses protect themselves from scams and phishing attempts. Our team can conduct thorough investigations to determine the legitimacy of suspicious messages and help safeguard your personal information.

Text message scams, including the recent Toronto parking infraction scam, are a growing threat. By staying informed and vigilant, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these deceptive tactics. Remember, when in doubt, verify the information and seek professional assistance if needed. At The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., we’re here to help you navigate the complexities of scam detection and protection.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, visit our website or contact us directly. Stay safe and stay informed!

FAQ: Identifying and Handling Scam Text Messages

Is the City of Toronto parking infraction text scam real?

No, the City of Toronto does not send text messages or email reminders about parking violations or tickets, nor do they issue reminders through a third party. If you receive such a message, do not click on any links and delete the message immediately.

Is the Ontario ticket payment text a scam?

Yes, messages claiming to be from an “Ontario Ticket Department” and asking the receiver to click a link to resolve unpaid parking tickets are fraudulent. There is no such agency, and unpaid parking tickets cannot be paid via text message.

Does the Ontario ticket department send text messages?

No, the Ontario Court of Justice, Region of Waterloo, and Waterloo Regional Police do not send tickets or payment reminders via text messages. Similar scams have been reported in various regions, including Toronto and British Columbia.

How can I find out if I have unpaid parking tickets in Toronto?

You can check for any outstanding parking tickets or violation notices and make payments using the City’s Parking Ticket Services Online Application.

Does the City of Toronto send text messages for parking fines?

No, the City of Toronto does not send text messages or email reminders about parking violations or tickets. If you receive such messages, do not click on any links and delete them immediately.

Is the Ontario parking ticket text scam real?

Yes, it is a scam. Parking tickets cannot be paid via text message. Be cautious of suspicious text messages, and do not click on any links or provide personal information. These types of messages are known as smishing.

What happens if you don’t pay a City of Toronto parking ticket?

If you fail to pay a parking violation, you will be issued a Notice of Default. This notice will include the total amount due, including the initial penalty, address search fee, late fee, and a payment request by a specified due date.

Can you receive scam parking tickets?

Yes, there has been an increase in fraudulent parking scams. These scams can involve fake QR codes, apps, and false websites, leading drivers to unknowingly provide payment to scammers.

How do I pay a parking infraction notice in Ontario?

You have several options to pay a parking ticket in Ontario:

  • Online: Payments can be made using Visa, MasterCard, Visa Debit, MasterCard Debit, and American Express.
  • By telephone: Call the automated payment system at 613-738-7719, available 24/7.
  • In-person: Visit a designated payment location.
  • By mail or drop-off box: Send your payment to the appropriate address.
Is the 407 text a scam?

While 407 ETR does send payment reminder texts to customers with outstanding balances, the message will include a link to the secure 407 ETR website for payment, never a direct payment link. Always verify the legitimacy of such messages before taking action.

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Whitney Joy Smith is a prominent figure in the field of private investigation and security, serving as the founder and CEO of The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., Smith Security Inc., and Training Centre Canada, as well as a sitting politician.

With a remarkable journey that began in the early 2000s, Whitney's professional background as a private investigator is underscored by her unwavering dedication to the role. Born in Canada and having spent her early years between Canada and the United States, Whitney possesses a unique perspective shaped by her experiences in both countries. This background equips her with an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of private investigative laws, regulations, and operational standards in North America.

Throughout her career, Whitney has garnered numerous industry awards and accolades. She takes great pride in working closely with her continually expanding agency, striving to elevate industry standards, maintain compliance, and effectively meet the diverse investigative needs of clients.

Whitney actively engages in various membership, committee, board and support roles, demonstrating her commitment to the industry and professional community. She is affiliated with all local chambers, associations and more.

Whitney's wealth of experience is not limited to her professional achievements; her thought-provoking articles have been featured in publications ranging from Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and Mens Health to Business News Daily. She constantly seeks to redefine standards and push the boundaries of excellence within the private investigative and security fields.

To discover more about Whitney Joy Smith and the dedicated team at The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., visit our website to learn more.

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