Parking lot impostor scams drivers in Downtown Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A parking lot impostor is on the prowl in Downtown Memphis, and his latest victims are dozens of fans who cheered on the Redbirds on Sunday afternoon.

These parking lot scammers can really look the part, wearing safety vests or carrying official looking badges.  But the rush to find that perfect spot could mean a big bill and a boot waiting for you when it's time to go home.

Signs are posted on each floor at  the garage at B.B. King Boulevard and Monroe Avenue. In big red letters that read, "do not pay any person."

"If somebody is standing out here, I just assumed they are overriding the machine's authority," said Heather Vescovo, a regular at the downtown garage.

That confusion proved costly to dozens of drivers Sunday after they paid a man who didn't work for the lot.

Risk Management patrols the garage looking to boot cars that don't have an official receipt from the machine.

These days, they tell us they are also on the lookout for swindlers.

"I would be very disappointed if I came out and I paid honest money, and I came out and a boot was on my car," said Misty Arinder, an employee with Risk Management.

Arinder said at least 30 drivers got booted Sunday.

Fans thought they had paid for their spot, but that bogus parking attendant took the money and ran.

It also happened the night before at the lot on Fourth Street and Union Avenue.

Risk Management said they cut the victims a break, only charging them $75 instead of the regular $125 fee to remove the boot.

Betsy McKay, once a victim of this parking lot scam, now warns all her clients who come downtown.

"If you see an attendant and these signs, I would not pay that attendant. Pay the machine and get the receipt," said McKay.

A receipt that will protect you and your car from getting a boot.

Risk Management said they've even see these scammers put trash bags over the automated machines to trick people into paying fake attendants.

They said if you are ever confused about who to pay, you can always pay through the Park Mobile app. Look for the numbers inside a green box on the machine to input into the app and pay.

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