Sharjah: Conmen are ripping off Sharjah shopkeepers by posing as customers and tricking them into handing their money.
No sale takes place and yet shopkeepers end up paying the balance amount to the ‘customers’
Victims told XPRESS the crooks — both men and women — are so good at their con job that it takes a while before they realise they’ve been duped.
Several shops in the school district behind National Paints Roundabout have been hit.
Sushmita, a salesgirl at the newly-opened Al Naseeb Readymade Garments Trading, said she lost Dh410 and a Dh90 dress to a conman. “An Asian man walked into the shop and bought a girl’s dress for Dh90. As I was about to prepare the bill, he started arguing with me about the price. He said he did not want the dress and took back his money. But the next moment he said he was taking the dress and asked for the ‘balance’. I got really confused as he kept rushing me into packing the dress and I gave him Dh410, without realisng he had already taken his money back. Before I could gather what happened, he had disappeared,” said Sushmita.
Shockingly, she said, just within 20 minutes, an abaya-clad woman tried the same trick on her after paying Dh1,000. “The second time around, I did not fall for the con. The woman rushed out into a waiting outside when I called my employer,” said Sushmita.
When the incident was reported to Sharjah Police, it came to light that the car registration number car was fake.
XPRESS can confirm that least seven such incidents have taken place here since September.
Faisal, who runs a grocery store in the area, said he lost Dh100 in a similar incident last month. “There are different kinds of fraud that we encounter. Two women bought fish from my shop. Next day they came and threatened me saying they would complain to authorities as they fell sick after consuming the fish if I did not pay them Dh200,” said Faisal.
Mohammad Alam, who works at the Delhi and Karachi Restaurant on the same street, said he also was hoodwinked into paying an extra Dh974 to a conman a few months ago.
“The restaurant had a couple of orders and I was busy. This man created a commotion over his home-delivery order for Dh34, and made me pay Dh974 to him. I did not realise that I had already returned his Dh1,000 when he picked an argument.”
Other shopkeepers who were targeted by the gang said they could not nab the culprits because their shops were not monitored by closed-circuit cameras.
This is how the con works
A ‘customer’ buys goods and goes to the counter where he picks up an argument with the cashier saying he does not want the goods and takes the money back. Then the ‘customer’ suddenly changes his mind, saying he wants the goods and asks for the ‘balance’.
The confused cashier does not realise he/she has already returned the money and pays the customer again. The customer coolly walks out of the shop with both the goods and the money.