The Austin Transportation Department has received reports of a possible illegal parking boot scam occurring in East Austin, in which a vehicle parked on a public street was booted by an unknown individual or entity.
In the scam, officials said a warning was posted on the vehicle directing the owner to pay a fee by calling a private phone number. Officials said they tried to call the number, but no one picked up.
According to the ATD, the Parking Enforcement team works with the Austin Municipal Court to boot vehicles with unpaid parking citations. Along with the boot, a notice will be posted informing the owner that they were booted for unpaid parking citations and lists a City phone number for them to contact the courts.
"There's going to be a City of Austin phone number on our notice that we put on vehicles that are being booted," Jason Redfern said. "There's going to be a reason for it. It's going to say the notice is being placed for unpaid citations and there's also not going to be an amount owed on our notice."
Officials said if a vehicle receives a boot and warning that does not direct them to contact the court, then it is likely illegal. However, the ATD said this does not apply to booting/towing on private property and roads, in which ATD does not play a role.
If you park on private property, state law allows the owner of that property to tow or boot your car if proper notifications are in place.
The ATD is working with the Austin Police Department in investigating the issue. If you believe you may have been a victim to a booting scam, you are asked to call Austin 3-1-1.
For an example of a legitimate City warning notice for a vehicle that has been immobilized, click here.