Fake parking permits a concern for University Police, UTAPS

Camille Anglo

Sacramento State Police and University Transportation and Parking Services are working together to resolve the issue of fraudulent parking permits being sold to students.

Cpl. Scott Christian said University Police is already looking into the matter since two students were caught with fraudulent permits last week.

“Our department is currently investigating the case to determine how the fraudulent permits were obtained, and in particular, who produced them,” Christian said.

Assistant Director of UTAPS Freddy Orozco said this is not the first time UTAPS has dealt with the issue of fake permits.

“Fraudulent parking permits being observed on campus is not a new issue,” Orozco said. “Each semester, there are usually a number of violations observed.”

Students who are caught with the permits are cited to pay a fine and asked to buy a real permit, Christian said.

“Since parking is a civil matter, students who are caught using a fraudulent permit are issued a parking citation from UTAPS,” Christian said. “It’s a pretty significant fine for using a fraudulent permit.”

According to the UTAPS website, parking with an unauthorized or fraudulent parking permit will cost a student $133.

Sac State criminal justice junior Brandon Castillo said he spotted an early bird special on Sac State permits on Craigslist last week.

“I was looking up some kind of student section and it literally said ‘parking passes for cheap and transportation services for Sac State,’” Castillo said. “It basically had parking permits for the university campus, but it was cheaper than what the office was actually offering.”

Orozco said the only place students can buy authentic permits are at Sac State.

“Parking permits sold by UTAPS, in office and online, Student Financial Service Center and CCE are the only authorized parking permits sold on campus,” Orozco said. “Parking permits are not sold by people in parking lots.”

Castillo said the Craigslist ad was appealing to freshmen and transfer students who are not familiar with how the parking works at Sac State.

“(The ad) said ‘All transfer students and freshmen get half off,’” Castillo said. “I’m a transfer student, so I don’t know if I was specifically getting into a certain category or something and they were trying to suck me in it seemed like because I was a transfer student.”

Orozco said even though a fraudulent permit may look similar to a real permit, there are features that verify whether it is the real thing.

“A permit is considered fraudulent when replicas of the real thing are attempted or when any alterations are made to a real permit, such as changing the date on a daily permit,” Orozco said.

Castillo said he did not see what the fake permit looked like, but the Craigslist ad provided a vague photo of the permit.

“I couldn’t exactly make it out, but when they took a picture, if was as if they had the specific pass that hangs on the actual rearview window and they literally took a picture of it from outside a car,” Castillo said. “Literally, a picture of a legitimate pass in the front of the window and it looked as if someone went by and took it.”

When University Police posted on its Facebook page about parking permits on April 2, Castillo said it confirmed his suspicions the permits on sale were fake.

“I didn’t really think it was fishy until a few hours later and it was taken off,” Castillo said. “I was thinking it was sold out or someone spammed it because I didn’t think there was something fishy about it until I noticed that Sacramento State actually posted something about it.”

The sellers also offered the permits in a format not existing on campus, Castillo said.

“I remember it said you could get it in two forms,” Castillo said. “One was a rearview hanger form and the other was an adhesive form, which I’m guessing it looks like a wet sticker.”

Castillo said he could have bought it because he did not know about it.

“For me, as a new transfer student, it would have fooled me,” Castillo said. “I probably would have bought it and they would be pocketing from it and I wouldn’t even know it because I’m new.”

Castillo said he is glad University Police and UTAPS are spreading the word to keep more students from getting scammed by people.

“At least it’s being made aware to a transfer student like me who’s new to the whole parking thing,” Castillo said. “Other people who are new to the college could very well be victims of getting screwed over by people.”

Christian said the best way to keep the problem of fake permits under control is making sure students are buying permits from certified places on campus and not from any suspicious persons.

“Bottom line, don’t purchase a permit from any source other than from UTAPS,” Christian said. “If the permit is fraudulent, you will be cited and fined for using a fraudulent permit, and then have to purchase a valid permit. You will also be out the money spent on the fraudulent permit.”

Camille Anglo can be reached at [email protected].