Wisconsin residents on opposite sides of the state -- including one in Door County -- have reported receiving fraudulent bills in the mail for supposed parking violations. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is asking consumers statewide to be on the lookout for fake invoices or threats of collections for phony parking fees.
In early April, a Door County and Pierce County resident each received a mailing from "Parking Collection Services" claiming that they owed $35 and $50 respectively. The mailing listed a Milwaukee post office box as an address. The letters claimed to be a "notice of Assignment to a Collection Agency" for these fines.
The Door County resident:
- Supposedly owed payment for unauthorized parking in an "Imperial Parking" lot in Milwaukee in January. Although the license number on the form matched one of her cars, that car has never been driven in Milwaukee.
- The consumer called the number listed on the document and gave the "account number" to the representative. Thinking it was a scam, the consumer refused to give her name and the representative hung up on her.
The Pierce County resident:
- Supposedly owed payment for parking in a private lot, but the lot and its location were not identified in the document.
- On the day in January when she was said to have been illegally parked in a lot, she was actually "up north" at a relative's home.
- When the resident called the number listed on the document, the recording indicated that the business was involved in "law enforcement collections."
Both state and federal laws prohibit solicitations disguised as bills and sales representations that are deceptive, untrue or misleading. If you are a victim of fraud, contact DATCP's Consumer Information Hotline at 1-800-422-7128 or file a complaint online on the DATCP website: http://datcp.wi.gov/.