Abu Dhabi: This is a fat scam with slim chances of escape. And it seems to have extended its tentacles.
Six years after XPRESS did a sting operation to expose the weight loss racket in Dubai, a similar operation has come to light in the capital.
A 50-year-old Indian man with a potbelly has alleged he was recently scammed into paying over Dh700 for a herbal concoction whose sellers in Madinat Zayed area claimed it was a magic potion with which he could lose weight.
The man said he was visiting the area during the Eid break when he was approached by a stranger.
“He struck a casual conversation with me and commented on my protruding tummy. He said it was not good for my health and that he knew exactly what I needed to get rid of it. He asked me to follow him to a neighbourhood shop and said I didn’t have to worry about the money.”
Taken in by the concern, the man said he was then led to a small shop where the stranger posed as a customer and asked for black cumin seeds.
“The cumin was put into a bottle and given to me against a payment of what I though was a nominal Dh15,” said the man.
But as it turns out, this was a just the teaser. The stranger, who had earned the man’s trust, now took him to another shop where he asked for more ingredients to be added to the cumin seeds.
The man said, “In a flash of second, some powders were sprinkled over a piece of paper and then added to the bottled cumin. The next thing I knew, I was asked to pay Dh700. I was taken aback and told the shopkeeper I did not have the money. But he had a solution and pointed to an ATM close by. With no escape now, I drew the money and gave it to him. The stranger had disappeared by now and when I asked for a receipt, I drew a blank.”
He said the shopkeeper asked him to come after three days to collect the receipt. But when he returned, there was a different person manning the shop. “He claimed he had no knowledge of the other person who had dealt with me.”
The man, who realised he had been duped, said, “I made a mistake, I should not have been so gullible. But that is not to take away from the fact that they are scamsters out to cheat people.”