Do you experience problems with “Parking Scammers”? They are rife in Portugal and they REALLY annoy me!.
It does not matter whether you park in a side road or in a free car park the “Parking Scammers” are lurking – just waiting to spring into action by directing you into a “free” parking space. “Free” being the operative word. Then, the moment you step out of your car they pounce – demanding money. I know their presence can feel really intimidating, but please do not give in to their demands. Tourists and foreigners are prime targets especially if you do not speak the lingo and unable to understand their demands. However, some do speak English and are very persuasive!
I found them particularly intimidating when Mr. Piglet was in Faro hospital. There was no on-site parking so I had no choice but to run the gauntlet of “Parking Scammers” as they tried to direct me, without success, into one of “their” parking spaces. When I ignored them and parked elsewhere, undeterred, they ran after me and stood by my car menacingly waiting for payment.
Several of our friends, frightened their cars will be damaged, “pay up”. Why do we live in a state of fear and give in to these people?
Last week, the weather was beautiful so we went to Amado Beach in Portimão. Because it was out-of-season we were fortunate to find parking in one of the free car parks. However, as we drove in, our hearts sunk; we were greeted by a “Parking Scammer” trying to direct us into a parking space…come on the car park was empty!
Mr. Piglet momentarily tempted to run him over swerved at the last-minute ignoring the guy’s frantic gestures as he pointed at a car parking space. He decided to try his luck anyway, and knocked on our window demanding money. His demands were met with blank stares and total indifference, so he wandered off.
Spotting his next victim “Parking Scammer” sprung into action, but this time he struck lucky – Ahhh ha Touristo!! Easy pickings!!
“Bom Dia Senhora” he cooed “You make donation?”
He played the part of slimy con man well as he as he hovered expectantly, smiling insincerely at the Senhora. Senhora, who obviously had left brains at home that morning, emptied her purse into her hand, proffers him a handful of change and asked.
“How much do you want?”
I could not bear to watch as he gleefully helped himself. Senhora then thinks to ask.
“Errr what is the donation for?”
I did not catch his reply but just caught the smug look of triumph as he swaggered off. Feeling confident he went to approach us again; stopped in his tracks, thought better of it, and walked off in the other direction. Sensible guy – to quit while you’re ahead!
This is just one scam…there are MANY more…
As we made our way down the 118 steps to the beautiful beach below, I looked back, and spotted “Parking Scammer” directing his next victim into a parking space. Pushing negative thoughts from my mind, as I struggled down the steps with our beach gear; I paused, much to Mr. Piglet’s amazement, to take some photographs.
I really cannot understand why the Police allow scammers, do they turn a blind eye?
What type of parking scams do you have in your country?
Would you pay-up or ignore their demands?