Yesterday I got a letter from a collection agency saying that I owe $66 for a parking ticket from Philadelphia issued six years ago. On it was my car's license & VIN numbers. (I don't own the car anymore.) But I've never been to Philly, and neither has my car! Is this identity theft? I Googled and can't seem to find any info about this type of scam. Anyone hear of anything like this? What would you do?
Did you own the car 6 years ago?
Sounds more like auto theft.
$66? You got off lightly if so.
Never had a ticket that low before!
"Did you own the car 6 years ago?"
How could it be identity theft if they have your VIN and license plate number? What would be the scam, someone parked his own car illegally and got there in time to see the meter maid writing him up so he says "don't bother looking at my car for information, I'll fill this ou for you"?
name withheld out of cowardice
Be aware, parking fines in Philadelphia escalate every 10 days or so. I always take the train in so I don't have an issue with it, but my girlfriend once ended up with a 200+ ticket that started out as a 15 dollar parking ticket. Yikes! And no, you can't negotiate with them to get the price down. So whatever you do, resolve it quickly.
Sounds like the paperwork for the transfer of title either didn't get filed correctly or didn't get filed at all. This is fairly common, but not identity theft.
They typically (at least here) don't write down VIN's when they write tickets (probably added during the step when they match the license plate with the registered owner's name).
This sort of thing happened to my parents once; they sold a car, and the auto mechanic they sold it to threw the license plates in the trash.
He admitted he owned the car at the time the tickets were issued so it couldn't be a thrown away license plates deal.
name withheld out of cowardice
Surely to get the VIN you've got to lift the bonnet (hood) up Then that has to match-ish with registration (owner). I can't ever remember a copper lifting the bonnet up on me (so to speak).
You don't have to lift the hood to read the VIN on any of my cars, not even the 1969 Volkswagen Squareback.
Philly is infamous for incorrect parking tickets. The official explanation is that they read the license plate number wrong when writing the ticket for a different car. I got a ticket for parking in Philly around the same time you mention that this ticket came from. The interesting thing is that I actually worked in Philly at the time but always took the train in and didn't drive in once. I seem to remember calling up, telling them I've never driven in Philly, and having them dismiss the ticket with no problem.
Oh, in addition, they can probably look up things like VIN number just from the license plate number so it doesn't necessarily mean that the person issuing the ticket actually copied the VIN off the car. I seem to remember them having pretty detailed info on my car at the time (such as make and color) despite it being a bogus ticket.
It's also possible that he did get a ticket in Philly and before he got back to his car a passerby played a practical joke by throwing the ticket away. He might have never even seen the ticket, despite the fact that it was issued.
Aaron F Stanton
In Saudi you can't leave the country until you have paid all traffic tickets. Also women are not allowed to drive.
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