DUBAI: A Rolls-Royce-driving Arab man who allegedly conned scores of car owners in Dubai in recent months has struck again. This time his victim is a Pakistan man who was tricked into parting with his 2013 BMW-6 series sedan for a Dh185,000 dud cheque.
Amjad (name changed on request) who put his car up for sale on a popular classifieds website on April 16 only to be contacted by the man two days later, says he still can’t get over the manner in which he got cheated and lost his car that had run only 42,000km.
“He called me on the morning of April 18 saying he could come and see me within half an hour. He said he needed to buy the car urgently for his wife as he had an imminent work trip out of the country. The way he spoke, he sounded very rushed,” recalls Amjad who has been living in Dubai for a little over five years. “When I insisted that I could only meet him the next day, he somehow convinced me to spare some time in the evening for the transaction. I was forced to agree because I was jittery about letting this deal slip.”
However his biggest gaffe, reckons Amjad, was to be swayed by the man’s sparkling white Rolls- Royce and its three-digit number plate when they met later that evening. “He came with another man and both looked polished in white kandouras. He also spoke really good English and used jargons to describe his work, but the Rolls-Royce was the clincher for me. I hardly suspected a thing, thinking he indeed must be a very rich and important man. How naive it was of me,” rues the top executive at a DIFC company.
“My asking price was Dh195,000 but we settled for Dh10,000 less as I had formed a great deal of trust already. It was also around 6.30pm and he said that if we had to get this transaction done that night then we had to be quick as the nearest RTA Tasjeel office – the one in Satwa would close by 8pm. So in all that rush I hardly had the time to reflect on anything else,” explains the father of four.
“I had no idea the small office even existed, but we reached just in time and the registration of my car in his name, to my bad luck, happened in the nick of the moment. When I asked for the cash he offered a cheque, saying he was not carrying the full amount. He said it was as good as cash and that I could deposit it straightaway. It was around quarter to nine, but saying that if we could still reach a branch in less than 15 minutes, he drove me down to The Dubai Mall,” Amjad said recalling how he was coerced into accepting the cheque instead of cash. “To avoid raising suspicion, he gave me his contact details and a copy of his Emirates ID saying I could call him in case of any problems.”
“Little did I know that I had been fooled until next morning when I presented the cheque at the bank’s Dubai Marina branch near my house. To my horror, the teller informed me that the account was closed. An executive at the branch told me that an American expat faced the same situation as mine just few weeks back,” says Amjad who lodged a police complaint after calls to the Arab man went unanswered.
XPRESS can confirm that the Arab man who conned Amjad is the same fraudster who has duped scores of other car owners using the same modus operandi (see Anatomy of a scam).
Among his many victims is Indian executive S.R. who was tricked into parting with her 2015 Nissan Patrol SE last September for a Dh230,000 cheque that also turned out to be dud.
The story was published in XPRESS on September 24, 2015.
“We didn’t suspect a thing. In fact, we were impressed when this man showed up at our Discovery Gardens home in a kandoura driving a white Rolls Royce to say that he was interested in buying our car,” S.R. had said.
Her SUV had barely clocked 1,000 kilometres. Like Amjad, she was also coaxed to get the change of ownership done immediately. “He took me to the RTA centre in Al Ghusais, but instead of giving the full cash as promised, he gave me a cheque.”
Another Asian victim who didn’t want to be named said the man lives in Ajman and has multiple cases against him.
Anatomy of a Scam
1. It starts with the conman contacting an individual car seller over phone. His ‘targets’ are usually expats who advertise their cars on popular websites with price tags in the region of Dh200,000.
2. An evening meeting is fixed, typically around 6.30pm – just an hour and a half before the ‘nearest’ RTA registration office is about to close.
3. Comes driving in a Rolls Royce with a VIP number plate with a ‘friend’, both dressed in white kandouras, to strike the ‘deal’ before heading to the RTA office.
4. Establishes himself as a sweet-talking, polished government official with a flair for the English language before finding a pragmatic excuse to coerce the ‘target’ into accepting a cheque.
5. The transfer of ownership is done and the conman leaves with the car, now in his name, while his friend drives off the Rolls Royce. Completes the ruse by handing his unsuspecting victim his Emirates ID and phone number and asking him to call in case of any ‘problems’.
6. The victim realises he has been conned the next morning when the bank returns the cheque due to insufficient funds.