Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

  • Gulf News reader was approached by a middle-aged woman who asked for urgent help.
  • She needed Dh100 for some necessary payments.
  • She said her ATM card was stuck in one of the machines nearby.
  • Reader gave her Dh90 and took her mobile number.
  • She is not answering his calls and has even blocked his number.
  • Such incidents can be reported to the police by calling the non-emergency hotline, 901.

Sharjah: On Thursday, at around 9.30pm, I walked out of a supermarket in Sharjah’s Al Majaz area. Suddenly, a well-dressed, middle-aged woman came across and told me that she needed some urgent help. She was panting and looked so distressed; it seemed like she was in real trouble.

At first, she asked whether I was Indian and if my home was nearby. I pointed at my building, which was near. Then, she told me that she was in need of urgent monetary assistance — she needed Dh100 for some necessary payments and her ATM card was stuck in one of the machines nearby.

She was very gentle in her tone of speech and when you looked at her, she did seem like someone who needed genuine help. She seemed desperate for money. I didn’t ask her what it was for, because she kept repeating she needed it for something urgent and seemed in a rush.

She promised that she would bring the money to me within a few hours’ time at my doorstep. Somehow she convinced me that she was in real trouble and in need of money, which she will be returning as soon as possible. She kept insisting that she wouldn’t cheat me and that she wasn’t like other beggars or fraudsters.

Something similar had happened to me once, where I had run out of money and someone helped me. I thought back to that incident and assumed that she must be in a similar situation.

Fell for her act.

Cheated

I trusted and believed her and gave her Dh90 — all that I had in my wallet. I took her mobile number while giving her the said amount.

A few hours later, I called her mobile number and asked for the money. She informed me that she would pay me the next day. When I did not receive her call the next day, I called her again in the evening and she repeated the same thing. It moved on to Saturday and then Sunday, I kept getting the same response.

Now, she has blocked my number and I am unable to contact her anymore. When I called from a different number, she answered and then quickly cut the call and blocked that number, too.

When I shared this story with a few friends, they told me that they had also experienced such an incident and were cheated in a similar manner. The reason I’m sharing this story is because, such an incident will leave a bad impact on society. It is not a matter of Dh90, we usually give more than that amount every month as charity. But, it is a matter of scamming someone for such a small amount.

Due to this incident, from now on, I might never come forward and help in genuine cases. Even those people who are in real trouble, I will treat with suspicion and ignore them. All because of one bad experience.

This woman has not just cheated me, but the entire society. At any cost, we have to stop such fraudsters and protect our society. I want to highlight my experience and hope to stop such practices in the future. I am always ready to support people. Being a human being, I want to help others in need. But, after this incident, I will never look at people in the same way.

That woman must be thinking that she is quite clever and has cheated me. And so, she might do the same with other people, too. Such things should not happen.

According to a report published in Gulf News in September, such incidents can be reported to the police. Residents can contact them on the non-emergency hotline, 901.

— The reader is a database administrator based in Sharjah for 23 years.

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