Illegal Parking Attendants

Illegal parking attendant getting paid by a victim.

If you find yourself having to park in a busy centre, you may encounter these individuals pretending to be parking attendants and guards.

Appearance and attitudes of the scammers, and consequences of the encounter could change quite a bit. It depends on who you are dealing with and in which country.

Note that there we are not talking about guarded private car parks. This is about public car parking areas blackmailed by desperate, scammers and thugs.

Criminal organizations might even fight for managing certain territories for this kind of rackets.

1) How it works

As mentioned, you are traveling abroad, driving your own vehicle or a rented one. Arrived in a busy area, your destination, you look for a parking spot.

At this point, if you are in an area targeted by this scam, it could go one of this two ways.

I) Sooner or later, you manage to notice some free space that is right for you. You park there and get out of the car. As you walk away you might be intercepted by one or more people, our scammers.

II) As you wander around looking for the right place, a person catches your attention. This figure will be more than willing to show you the closest spot and help you with parking manoeuvres. Once out of the car the same person will stop you with some requests.

In both cases these people will insistently demand for you to “voluntarily” donate something. You will pay their services as “guardians” of the parking lot and of your car in particular.

Yes, the – “we don’t want anything bad to happen to it, don’t we?”- subtle menace is often on purpose. And not even too subtle.

They might start out as jovial and friendly people looking for some donation. They might even endorse family and personal motivations and difficulties to convince you to pay the service.

The problem is that their “services”, besides being illegal, are also technically extortions. Part of the fee will probably go to the criminal organization that manages the area.

The moment you decide not to pay, the scammers will become more insistent. They could even openly threaten damages to your vehicle, or its theft, in the event of your final refusal.

Illegal parking attendant in Italy is pretending to help a driver.
Illegal parking attendant in Italy. (Credit - Unknown via Quora)

2) What you risk

As said, it depends on who you are dealing with and in which country.

If you pay the illegal toss, you will have lost your money to some kind of unsolicited or unwanted insurance. Maybe it’ll piss you off a little for having to give in to their blackmailing.

On the other hand, if you don’t pay and leave your car there, they may damage it or even steal it. Besides, in case of your final refusal or openly hostile attitude, scammers might become threatening or even violent.

3) How to avoid it

Keep in mind that, in many cases, you haven’t bought a guarding service. You’ve paid those scammers not to damage your car and it probably won’t keep you safe from other criminals’ activity.

Also, be careful about where they make you park your vehicle, most of them don’t care if you get a fine or your car is impounded.

As I see it you have two choices. You can look for another parking space or pay what they demand. You can try to bargain on the sum but, in this scheme, scammers rarely ask for hight amounts.

The alternative is to terribly expose your vehicle to their vengeance.

Calling law enforcement will not solve your problem on the spot or the big matter itself. As with drug rackets, when you arrest one dealer some others will soon take their place.

However, reporting these encounters to the local law enforcers might feed the statistics. Enough reports could rise the pressure on local authorities to do something about it.

4) Extras and Thoughts

If it can be of any consolation, locals are often afflicted by this people as well. These activities, like many other problems related to organized crime, seem almost impossible to actually get rid of.

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