Over a hundred drivers have fallen foul of a parking ticket scam in China's northern city Shijiazhuang in Hebei province, reports thepaper.cn.
Returning to their cars parked along several streets, the drivers found tickets displaying basic information of their vehicle such as license plate number, type and color, with a message saying they should pay the penalty using the QR code provided within two days. The ticket also stated they had violated Article 56 of the traffic law, and if they failed to pay up they would be fined 100 yuan (about 15 USD).
The tickets caused confusion among many drivers who felt they hadn't parked illegally, and had never come across a system of paying fines by QR codes before.
Later, a traffic police officer surnamed Zhao confirmed that the tickets were not real, even though they were very similar to the real thing. The official pointed out the ticket numbering system was different, and the fake tickets didn't record the time of the illegal parking, which is an essential part of the real ones. Also standard tickets don't have QR codes or threaten further fines.
The police officer said real tickets simply state that the traffic laws had been broken and that car owners need to pay the fine at designated sites within 15 days.
According to another officer, named Zhang Hua, this is the first time fake tickets have appeared in the city, although many reported cases had been received.
"Citizens need to report fake tickets to the police as soon as they find one stuck on their vehicle," Zhang added.