Conmen are targeting disabled drivers to swindle them out of thousands of pounds by impersonating council parking attendants.
In one case, a man is said to be approaching Blue Badge holders in Merton and falsely telling them that new council policy means they have to register their vehicle at a ticket machine.
Once at the machine the conman instructs the driver to insert their card and enter their PIN into the device — only to claim that the card has been “swallowed”.
One driver had £3,000 withdrawn from their account in the scam. Legitimate parking ticket machines in Merton only accept coins as a payment method and do not have a slot for cards.
The fraudster, who dresses in a uniform similar to council parking wardens, is being hunted by the borough’s parking and community safety teams and local police. There have been similar reports of would-be fraudsters in neighbouring Wandsworth.
Edith Macauley, Merton council cabinet member for community safety, engagement and equalities, said: “I would like to reassure our residents and all Blue Badge holders that we are doing everything we can to stop this person. Merton council would like to confirm that there have been no new changes made to the Blue Badge policy.
“Along with our neighbouring boroughs, all parking enforcement officers will be keeping a close eye out for this man, and we have alerted the local Safer Neighbourhood Teams so that the police can help us track him down.
“In the meantime, I would urge everyone to stay alert to suspicious activity. Never enter your PIN into any form of payment machine in view of anyone else wherever you are.
“If you are concerned you have been conned, contact your bank immediately so that your card can be cancelled.”