A Waikato man says he thought a random phone call from the Ministry of Justice was a scam, especially when they demanded they hand over credit card details.
Garry Meyer says he was shocked at the behaviour of ministry staff who phoned his wife in September demanding she pay an 8-year-old parking ticket immediately over the phone.
Meyer, of Cambridge, is sharing his story after reading about Auckland man, Kevin Longley's story in today's Herald after he received a "threatening" court letter earlier this month demanding he pay an 11-year-old parking ticket that he never knew existed.
Longley said when he questioned the ministry staffer they said they were chasing up historic fines as they were not busy during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Meyer said his wife received a phone call in September from a person who said they were from the ministry.
The vehicle which the parking ticket was assigned to, is registered in her name.
He said he told his wife to hang up the phone as he thought it was simply another scam.
"I was just like, this can't be right."
But then the ministry staffer became even more insistent and told her that if she didn't hand over her credit card details straight away, a further $100 would be added to the ticket.
"That's when I got angry," he said. "I thought it was a scam, I really did think it was a scam."
Meyer said he then got on the phone and told the person that if they were going to pay an old ticket, he wanted proof that the person worked for the ministry.
He eventually managed to persuade them to give him 24 hours so he could verify who he was talking to and got the parking ticket - from June 6, 2012 in Taupo - emailed to him.
He then called the ministry and got them to verify that the name of the person they were given actually worked there.
After about 45 minutes on the phone and several emails, he was satisfied that the person was genuine and within about 24 hours he paid the outstanding $42.67.
Meyer said he was on edge about scam callers as just days earlier he had received a fake email from a company purporting to be from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
Instead of replying, he just deleted it and hadn't heard anything since.
He felt the whole experience with the ministry was bizarre as the family had lived at the same address for 28 years so tracking them down at the time shouldn't have been hard.
Ministry of Justice official Brett Dooley yesterday told the Herald "fines never go away or expire due to elapsed time".
When councils, police and other government bodies issued fines for infringements, such as speeding, illegal parking or failing to register a dog, the fee was transferred to the court for collection.
The court then used "multiple avenues" to find updated details for people with unpaid fines, Dooley said.