Signs posted in Green P lots at more than 40 Washington neighborhoods have been tagged with ‘Be a Fool,’ scammers alerted to illicit actions.
An alarming scam is affecting people who live in some of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods.
Signs posted along many Washington street lots warn drivers not to enter without paying – a brazen reminder that a daily trip to the mall and grocery store can cost as much as a typical car loan, even with Washington’s inflated property values.
But if drivers follow the signs, they may find it’s easy to walk in or even drive in – which, in many cases, gets customers to pay on the spot.
The posting isn’t necessary, according to an alert to residents in Scott Circle and R Street between 13th and 14th streets.
There’s a curious thing about this apparent tipoff: A few of the signs are actually texts sent to the phones of homeowners by a scammers calling themselves “Mark Realty,” the alert warned.
Scott Circle residents contacted the Alliance for Better Business Bureau to try to track down the scammers.
“Be a Fool!” is a clicker used to read messages in yellow sticky envelopes. The email uses the address aoeb.com, which leads the reader to a website where the message reads: “Don’t fall for our tricks: We are a con artist and haven’t repainted the signs. $50 scam charges are done by third parties. There are three lots on the map (i.e. street parking in shoto) and the city has not painted signs, nor do they want to. Regrettably, we will now leave it up to you to take our warning signs down. We are out of business and doing foreclosure sales. Any photos or stories on their sales are appreciated. Don’t listen to their sales pitch — it’s all a scam.”
Washington’s fines for such actions can reach $100 to $500.
A spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Transportation said she didn’t have any information on who authorized the messages.
To call a scammers, residents are advised to call 911, get their property’s address and find out who owns the property, said Lauren Ehrsam, the spokeswoman. The number for the Alliance for Better Business Bureau is 888-285-7338.