Urgent warning after driver scammed £230 through car parking app

A LOCAL council has issued a stark warning after a driver was scammed out of £230 through a car parking app.

Flintshire Council launched an investigation after three payments were taken from a woman’s bank account, by a fraudster called “The Happy Hormone.”

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A woman was scammed out of hundreds of pounds when she visited the car park in Connah’s Quay, WalesCredit: Google

They are investigating whether the woman used the official PayByPhone app advertised at the car park.

The woman, who lives in Manchester, was visiting her home town of Connah’s Quay in North Wales and decided to stop in the old Somerfield car park.

There motorists can pay 50p to park for four hours or £1 for the whole day at the council-run facility.

Posting on Facebook, she explained: “I used the app to pay. I ended up being scammed and £230 coming out of my bank.

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“The first withdrawal was £1, the second was £59.99, and the third was £170.

“It shows up on your account as the Happy Hormone.

“They apply for the money from your bank account as ‘music’.

“Just be careful everyone. I’d never used an app to park there before, and I won’t be using an app to park anywhere again.”

Nat West swiftly investigated her complaint but was unable to identify who had taken her money.

They canceled her cards, passed the case to their fraud section, and promised to repay the stolen money into her account.

Regular users of the car park say they’ve never had problems there, however the scam has spooked some motorists.

“Even more reason to not have to pay via app at car parks” posted one person.

“Keep with cash or, if really needs must, use a card payment option,” said another.

The app, operated by Volkswagen Financial Services AG, is used by councils across Britain.

Katie Wilby, Flintshire’s chief officer for Streetscene and Transportation, said “We have been alerted to a potential fraudulent parking app, which we are currently investigating with our official provider, after a report from a customer that she had experienced online banking fraud when trying to pay for parking recently.

“We wish to warn people to take extra care and be on guard against scammers when paying online for your parking.

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PayByPhone also warned customers that several bogus websites have been created in an attempt to impersonate its website.

Urging users to ‘be vigilant’, it added “We’re in the process of shutting down these fraudulent sites.”

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