VERNON - A video circulating on social media of a Vernon parking meter on the fritz has been addressed by the City.
The video, which can be viewed at the bottom of this article, shows a meter plugged with two loonies that appears to be counting down in seconds, rather than minutes. But before you start thinking Vernon bylaw is up to no good, here is the City’s response:
“It wasn’t a malfunction per se, but the batteries in the meter were dying,” manager of protective services Clint Kanester says. “We do see this periodically, but as we change batteries at this time of the year, it doesn’t become a major concern.”
While relatively uncommon, it’s possible that other residents may have noticed some unusual meter activity this past year.
“We have had a higher than normal failure level as the batteries that we purchased last year, while a name brand, don’t seem to have held their charge as well or lasted as long as normal,” Kanester says.
The city will be going back to the old name brand in hopes of reducing failures.
And while the city wasn’t trying to scam you, Kanester says others might.
Recently, protective services has become aware of fraudulent schemes where an official looking email is sent out stating the individual owes money to a municipality or private parking contractor for a parking ticket. The email includes a fine amount, options to pay by credit card, and links to photos claimed to have been taken by a bylaw officer. Kanester says municipalities do not send out emails for payment in this manner.
“The hope is that when someone sees they owe money, they will just pay it using their credit card or they will click on the picture link to see if it actually was their vehicle,” Kanester says of the scams. “Clicking on the link may download a virus or malware that can (breach) your computer or records, putting your personal information at greater risk.”
A good way to determine if an email is false is to hover your mouse pointer over the email address or the link to payment or photo sites, Kanester says.
“You should never click on a link without knowing exactly where it is going,” Kanester says.
To report a suspicious email, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre here or by calling 1-888-495-8501.
For more information on frauds, scams, and how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim, contact the City of Vernon’s Community Policing Office in person at 2900-32 Avenue, by phone at 250-550-7840 or online.
— This story was updated at 11 a.m. March 29, 2017 to add a video.
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