MALIBU, CA (KCBS/KCAL/CNN) - It can be tough to find parking in hot tourist areas, especially when it's hard to tell the difference between real, legal no parking signs, and fakes.
Drivers in the exclusive beach town of Malibu, CA are having a tough time figuring out which of those signs are real, and some people are turning to unusual ways to combat the difficulty parking.
Malibu is famous for its 27-mile stretch of scenic beauty and majestic coastline along the Pacific coast Highway.
But in this tight-knit community of 13,000, locals said it's no secret that parking is at a premium.
Tourists from around the world flock to Malibu all year round, and when you add 15 million beach visitors annually, well, residents have a lot to say.
"People live here and they're here every day, and so many people come just to visit and take all the parking spots that are here and break the parking rules. People come to surf come here for two hours at max and then we're going, but when tourists come, they're here eight hours, the whole day, and they take up all the parking spaces," Suraya Fadel said.
The California Coastal Commission said residents here seem to be taking matters into their own hands by posting fake "no parking" signs in areas where Caltrans has its signs.
The enforcement supervisors said the signs are illegal, yet so convincing, they can get you a parking ticket.
"It's a small group that's taking it into their own hands, but the city is vigilant about that," said Malibu Mayor Pro Tem Laura Rosenthal.
The hot spots for phony signs are where the priciest real estate meets the most desirable places - surf and sand. But it's hard to tell which ones are fake or real.
"You can go and get online or buy no parking signs," Rosenthal said.
The Coastal Commission is looking at bogus signs near Joffee's restaurant. Many of the signs on wooden poles in the area are allegedly not legitimate.
"If somebody makes a complaint, we would go out and investigate," Rosenthal said.
She said residents are being warned, and drivers who feel they've been a victim of the fake signs do have recourse.
"Think that the city would work with them, and the sheriff's department and the parking enforcement. If we found out that was not a legitimate sign, we would definitely be working with the person who got that ticket, because they shouldn't have," Rosenthal said.