19-year-old arrested in bogus Santa Cruz parking ticket scam

The scam involved using a QR code to direct victims to a website for payment of their fake citation.

Bay City News
Sunday, December 25, 2022
19-year-old arrested in bogus Santa Cruz parking ticket scam
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A teen suspected of creating and distributing fraudulent parking tickets in an attempt to collect payments for them has been arrested in Santa Cruz.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- A teen suspected of creating and distributing fraudulent parking tickets in an attempt to collect payments for them has been arrested in Santa Cruz, the police announced on Friday.

On Thursday, police received a report that fake citations had been issued to parked vehicles in the beach area the previous evening.

The scam involved using a QR code to direct victims to a website for payment of their fake citation.

Police zeroed in on 19-year-old Damian Vela of Watsonville, who they discovered in the beach area on Thursday evening. Police claim Vela admitted to the ruse but denied receiving any payments. Officers also allege that they searched his car and found evidence relevant to the scam.

Police do not know how many fraudulent citations Vela allegedly handed out or if anyone in fact made payments.

Vela was booked into jail on suspicion of unlawful use of a computer system and attempted fraud.

Detectives are looking for anyone who may have received a bogus parking ticket and are encouraging community members to come forward and contact the investigations unit at (831) 420-5820.

Anyone who may have a question about the validity of a ticket that they received can call the Santa Cruz Parking Office at (831) 420-6100.

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