/ Scams

Scam alert: GOV UK parking penalty charge email

A fake email purporting to be from the HM Courts & Tribunals Service is doing the rounds. It’s another phishing scam out to steal your bank details – here’s what it looks like.

We know from all our previous scam warnings that panic is a key tactic for scammers – they want to rush you into action before you’ve had a chance to process all the information.

Getting a parking ticket will often achieve exactly that, especially when it tells you that the penalty charge will increase if you don’t pay it within a certain time.

And this phishing email takes it further, not just threatening you with an increased fine, but a county court claim, too.


Threats like this can carry weight, which is exactly why it’s essential you take a minute to assess any email you receive before carrying out its instructions.

While at first glance this email may look legit, a closer inspection will reveal it’s not the full ticket – always be on the lookout for spelling mistakes, such as ‘penality’, and sentences that don’t quite add up (‘click here for more informations’).

Guide: how to spot a scam email

Inspection of the sender’s email on your device will also show that it was not sent from a genuine GOV.UK account.

HMCTS warns about email scams

The biggest giveaway, of course, should be the fact that HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) does not issue Penalty Charge Notices.

HMCTS has issued a warning against this type of phishing scam. It states:

Fraudsters will copy the HMCTS logo and attempt to make the notice look genuine.

Any genuine email from HMCTS will be sent from an @justice.gov.uk email address. If in doubt, hover over the email address to see the true identity.

If you receive an email on a phone, you can check the address by clicking on ‘display name’.

If you’ve received this email, HMCTS recommends reporting it to Action Fraud, which you can do so by forwarding it to report@phishing.gov.uk

Phishing emails can always be reported to the National Cyber Security Centre on report@phishing.gov.uk

If you’re concerned that you may have given your bank details to scammers, contact your bank immediately and let it know what’s happened. You can follow our guide to getting your money back after a scam here.

Have you received this fake email, or any others purporting to be from government departments? Let us know in the comments, and help warn others by sharing our scam alerts with your friends and family.

William GREENWOOD OBE says:
4 November 2020

Thank you for the information. “To be forewarned is to be forearmed”. Let us hope so.

Anybody looking at the amount on the scam parking fine should know it’s a scam because they usually charge £60 and in some towns, the charge is £80 to £100 even in Hospitals or clinic parking it’s £60 or over depending on who is running the parking scheme

People who are not accustomed to getting parking tickets are unlikely to know what the ‘going rate’ is.

Dealing with official agents representing The Royal Parks parking scheme in London recently was like standing up to The Playground Bully & his accomplices. They seem to think they’re licenced to print money impuning the ‘Royal’ brand. No luck with me! Same peas from the same scammer pod.

The spelling of Penalty is a good give away that it’s a scam ” Penality “

Thank you for taking the trouble to spread the word. Generly motorists have a hard time normally, without this.

Michael John Bishop says:
4 November 2020

Thank you for providing this valuable service.

I’ve had the government grant alert saying there was over £3000 waiting for me. Unfortunately it wouldnt let me send it to the phishing service email address !!!

A genuine ticket would tell you where you were illegally parked and give you the opportunity to appeal.

Thank you for the information on scams. It may be off topic but can you get rid of the word ‘gotten’ please. As used in the poll below. How did this word creep into the English language?

Janina Dulat says:
5 November 2020

I know ‘gotten’ seems like an ugly modern word but it appears in the King James bible, e.g., Genesis 4:1.

Yes but we’ve moved on from 1611, although much American usage still employs the language of the Pilgrims [1605].

The English language as used in the UK is extremely acquisitive and picks up many expressions from other parts of the world. “Like” is a notorious one, and the modern parlance for asking for something in a pub or café – “Can I get a bacon roll?” – annoys me [“Yes, I’ll wait” might be my response].

“We’ve got your back” [from McAfee and MSN] irritated me recently.

“Got” is a useful word in some contexts but it seems to cause trouble in its various forms.

The problem with the participle (got) is that it’s extremely inexact; OED lists eight meanings of the word as it stands, and numerous applications as a component of a phrasal verb. Best avoided as the risk of contextual misunderstanding is high.

Hey @jameswalpole, which poll are you mentioning here?

James will be referring to one of the polls that pop up at random at the top-right of the page, and are usually unrelated to the subject of the Convo. The use of ‘gotten’ is best avoided because it usually results in off-topic discussion like this. 🙁

. . . or he might be referring to one of the polls that are on the first page of each Conversation alongside the Intro and which change with every reopening. It will be the one containing the word “gotten” so a word search might help find it.

The latest poll I saw alongside the main article for this Conversation was “Would these latest innovations convince you to shop in-store?”. What innovations? It makes no reference to any current topic and is therefore meaningless. I voted NO – the majority opinion – and noted that 57 people had submitted a vote to a pointless poll . . . but perhaps they mostly voted when it was attached to a relevant article.

v rees says:
4 November 2020

I had a similar fine for not paying for charging my electric car problem::my car is a ten year old golf and they never provide reg number simply ignore them..

[Moderator: we’ve converted the text of this comment to sentence case. Please don’t type in all caps unless you’re intending to shout. For more information see the Community guidelines]

Julua says:
4 November 2020

I have had several of these but as your info says – HM courts and Tribunals would not issue fines for parking tickets – also I noted they don’t give any personal information in the email ie car details or location etc so I just ignored them

Theres another scam A phone message threatening severe legal action by HMRS unless you immedately ohone back When you do, its an answering machine I suspect they have found, a xybergateway to your ohone and data therein, via, your ohone programme

I live in Bromley and when I’ve had a penalty notice it’s come by post and has provided a photo of my car in a box junction or…. Payment is made to the council and can be done safely on line. I guess that even if the penalty notice looks official it’s worth contacting the organisation, such as the Royal Parks, to see if they have issued it. If not they might be glad to know that fraud is being committed in their name.

J Forster says:
5 November 2020

The temporarily unavailable telephone number is also a good clue.

Dear Which Team

Many thanks for your regular scam alerts – you’re doing a superb job.

Just to let you know; one of our local people in High Peak was scammed recently by a couple of crooks claiming to be from Microsoft, alerting the laptop user that the Microsoft system was being undermined by unusual activity so it’s security was under threat so they urged immediate action and asked for details of this person’s Microsoft account. Fortunately, the intended victim managed to contact her bank without delay. promptly put a block on her account. This is just a warning – no one should act upon a sudden message from any cyber provider – as one has used the Microsoft system, probably for at least a year, they have all your details anyway so why would they need to contact one about them?

At fear of stating the obvious – do you pass this on to PHISHTANK.COM?

Hi, I have tried several times to forward a scam emails to you at scamwatch@which.co.uk but it keeps getting rejected by your system.

How else can I notify you of scam emails if I can’t get them to you?

Kind Regards

Julian Smith says:
6 November 2020

I just received a similar text message, from ‘LTD’, saying I have incurred a penalty vehicle charge and to click on a link to handle it. Some spelling/grammar issues, plus the weblink is definitely iffy: ‘https://shorturl.at/bgtJM’

As soon as I saw this one I figured ‘informations’ (rather than ‘information’) – that just has to be a scam, probably conceived by a crafty meerkat!

9 November 2020

thankyou for this information