Students may fall victim to parking permit scams

Stacey Carmany

An estimated 150 lost or stolen passes reported

About 150 parking permits have been reported lost or stolen this semester. Sometimes, those permits are lost in the mail or left in rental cars. But a student who obtains and displays one of these permits may find himself stuck.

Parking Services manager Larry Emling said the end of the fall semester is an opportune time for permit scams. Often, students don’t know the permit has been reported lost or stolen until they find their cars have been booted.

The fine for displaying a lost or stolen permit is $100. The cost to remove the boot is $50.

Enforcement supervisor Lorreta Nichols said Parking Services has booted 16 cars for displaying lost or stolen permits since booting began last April. She did not know how many of these students could legitimately claim they did not know their permits had been reported lost or stolen.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” she said.

Emling said it’s easy to buy into the stories. The scammer may say that he sold his car or that he is moving and has no use for the permit. Some students report their permits lost or stolen, get replacement permits and sell or give their old permits to friends.

Parking Services finds vehicles displaying lost or stolen permits in several ways. If a car is parked in violation, monitors check to see if the permit is flagged as lost or stolen.

The second way Parking Services finds the permits is by searching the lots. Parking Services compiles a list of all the permits that have been reported lost or stolen. Parking monitors use the list to search specific lots to which the lost or stolen permits are assigned.

Emling said searching the lots is more time-consuming, but they do check them periodically.

“We do go out looking for these” Emling said. “Someone’s probably going to get caught.”

Contact transportation reporter Stacey Carmany at [email protected].