September 25, 2009 in City

Spokane woman, 73, sniffs out parking lot scam

Asked to hand over $100 for alleged car damage, Edie Linane called police
By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photo

Edie Linane, 73, believes she was the target of a parking lot scam in Spokane. A woman followed Linane into a grocery store and claimed Edie had hit her car five times with the door of her 1976 Nova. The woman wanted $100 on the spot to settle the damage. Linane refused to comply. (DAN PELLE
(Full-size photo)

Edie Linane wouldn’t fall for it.

She knew her 1976 Chevy Nova couldn’t have done the damage that the woman claimed during a confrontation in a Spokane grocery store parking lot earlier this month.

Police agreed, and Linane left without giving the woman the $100 she’d said was needed to avoid an insurance claim.

But Linane, 73, fears the scam could be duping unsuspecting drivers into paying money for damage they didn’t cause.

“I think it’s a scam being perpetuated on old people,” Linane said.

Fraud investigators warn against cash transactions. Most car insurance policies require customers to report even minor collisions immediately.

“Don’t ever hand someone cash in the parking lot,” said Rich Roesler, spokesman for the state Insurance Commissioner’s Office. “Your rates might go up, but you avoid the risk of these sorts of headaches and shake downs afterwards.”

Linane had just entered the Albertson’s at 1617 Northwest Blvd. on Sept. 9 when a woman approached and said Linane had slammed the driver’s door of her Nova into the woman’s Blazer several times.

Linane went outside to look at the cars.

“I said, that’s not where your car was,” Linane said.

But the woman insisted Linane did the damage and refused to exchange insurance companies. She wanted cash instead.

When Linane tried to drive away, the woman sat on the Nova’s back bumper and refused to leave, she said.

Linane called police, and an officer concluded Linane’s Nova could not have damaged the woman’s Blazer as she claimed.

No report was taken because “the damage the complainant claims the gal caused did not match up with the door heights of the cars,” said Spokane police spokeswoman Jennifer DeRuwe.

Police aren’t aware of an ongoing scheme but encourage anyone to call them if they have questions about the legitimacy of an accident claim.

“Anytime you could be a potential victim and you have concerns, let us come sort it out,” DeRuwe said.

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