Ealing Council is warning residents to beware after a man was sent a fake penalty charge notice demanding he pay £1,000 within five days or risk losing his driving licence.
The man received the bogus ‘Notice to Driver’ through the post alleging that he had been caught by CCTV camera using his mobile phone whilst driving in Southall in August. It detailed his vehicle and what he was wearing at the time.
The notice from the bogus ‘Borough Parking Association’ warned that he had five days to pay the extortionate amount via an on online PayPal account or risk bailiff action, penalty points or losing his licence. It contained a PCN number beginning with the ‘EA’ reference used in genuine Ealing Council PCNs and a contact email address for PCNealing@collector.org which is not used by the council.
The letter also referred to the Metropolitan Police and threatened to pass the case to the DVLA if he did not pay.
Fearing the repercussions the motorist’s friend attempted to pay the fine for him via a PayPal account. It was only when his friend spoke to staff at Ealing Council’s Customer Service Centre on his behalf that she learnt it was a scam.
The incident has been reported to the police and the Council’s Audit and Investigation team is also looking into the matter.
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for Transport and Environment said: “I am appalled at the lows scamsters will stoop to in order to rob people of their money. Only the police can issue fixed penalty notices for dangerous driving, such as while using a mobile phone.
“The notice looks realistic and we want to warn all drivers that these are not genuine. Neither we nor the police use PayPal. If residents have any doubts then they should always get in touch.”
All correspondence, including PCNs from Ealing Council Parking Services contain our telephone number 020 8825 6565, Parking Services, PO Box 46264, Ealing, London, W5 2UN and email firstname.lastname@example.org.