Beware of parking scams ahead of NFL Draft, attorney general warns

Residents and visitors alike should take extra caution to avoid parking scams while attending the NFL Draft in Detroit this week.

View of downtown Detroit from the parking lot on the roof of the Cobo Center.

View of downtown Detroit from the parking lot on the roof of the Cobo Center.

As football fans from near and far prepare to descend on downtown Detroit for the 2024 NFL Draft this week, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning residents and visitors about parking scams targeting attendees.

“Hosting the draft is a major win for Detroit and Michigan, but this exciting event comes with the potential risk of parking scams,” Nessel said in a news release. “By following some simple tips, you can avoid falling victim to deceptive parking practices and ensure your car stays safe during the event.”

The city of Detroit has announced many street closures throughout downtown to accommodate the draft and associated events. Visitors arriving by car often park in privately owned lots, but sometimes scammers take advantage of these events to sell parking spaces for lots they don’t have authority over – which could lead to cars being ticketed, towed or stolen.

Nessel encourages visitors parking in the city to ask for a receipt or parking ticket upon payment; to never give their keys to the attendant unless there are posted valet signs, and they’ve confirmed ahead of time with the location that the valet service is one they offer.

Another common scam involves bad actors issuing fake parking tickets, Nessel says. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that technology makes it easy for individuals to create authentic appearing parking tickets. The fake ticket will ask consumers to pay online or use a QR code.

Anyone unsure about the authenticity of a parking ticket they received should visit the city’s website or call the court directly to verify the ticket is real before following the web or QR code directions.

The BBB offers the following advice to avoid falling for this scam:

  • Know before you park. Before visiting a new place, research available parking and local parking requirements. Tourists with out-of-state plates are often the preferred target for parking scams because they are likely unfamiliar with local parking laws.
  • Examine the citation carefully. Scammers can imitate logos and city office names, but an imitation website is usually where the scam comes to light. Do an internet search for the city’s official parking ticket websites and compare what’s found to what is on the ticket. Keep in mind that government sites should end in a .gov or .ca (in Canada) designation, and if there is a payment page, it should always have a secure connection.
  • Double-check the name checks should be made out to. If the ticket allows for payment by check, take a closer look at the entity and address to which you are instructed to mail the check. Checks should generally be made out to a specific government organization, not a string of initials or personal names.
  • Pay traffic citations by credit card when possible. It will be easier to contest fraudulent charges if consumers discover they’ve been scammed down the road.

To file a complaint with the attorney general, or get additional information, contact the Michigan Consumer Protection Team at 517-335-7599 or fill out a complaint online.

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Jenny Sherman
    Jenny Sherman is 101.9 WDET's Digital Editor. She received her bachelor’s in journalism from Michigan State University and has worked for more than a decade as a reporter and editor for various media outlets throughout metro Detroit.