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'We all got swindled': 3 Burnaby renters victimized by weird parking spot scam

They thought they were renting parking spots from the real owners
underground parking scam spot
Underground garage or modern car parking with lots of vehicles, perspective

If you don’t live in a condo or apartment building that has underground parking, I’ll fill you in on a little side hustle for people who own units but don’t own a vehicle.

When you buy into a building, you are assigned a parking spot (or two) that comes with the purchase. Many people who don’t use those spots then rent them out to people who rent in the building or other owners who perhaps have a second vehicle.

I rent a spot in my building because we were only assigned one spot. Sergi has been renting out his spot to me because he lost his job during the pandemic and had to sell his car. It's been great because I've been working from home and street parking is timed during the day.

But I made sure I saw the paperwork that he own his spot. I did my due diligence.

Why was I so paranoid?

Because some people have been running scams in which they are renting out parking spots that don’t actually belong to them.

I wrote about this previously and now three more Burnaby renters got swindled in the same building.

Chuck, who lives in a building near the Brentwood area, told me one scumbag was running this scam on multiple people in his building, including him.

“One day I went down to get something out of my truck and it’s gone,” Chuck said. “So I got a hold of the property manager and they said they got a complaint someone was parking in their spot and so they had it towed away. I told them I paid to use the spot and that’s when I found out someone else was running a scam rent spots they didn’t own. I totally fell for it.”

Chuck had rented the spot for a few months and it turned out the real owner didn’t drive and rarely went into the underground parking area. So he’s out $150 in “rent” plus a towing charge. Oh, and his truck got dinged up when it was towed.

Chuck decided to post a notice all around his building asking people if they knew the person who had run the scam on them. He posted screenshots of the number and some messages.

He hoped someone would recognize the number. It turned out two others did because they had fallen for the same scam.

“We all got swindled,” Chuck said. “Luckily, the other two didn’t get towed and they’re parking on the street now. A lot of people in our building don’t drive because we’re close to the SkyTrain. So I guess the person just watched which spots were always open and went for it. That’s what’s so unnerving is that they probably live in the building with us. I did it all by text because of COVID. That’ll teach me.”

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.