Qatar resident NT recently agreed to buy what he initially thought were fine Italian suits at a discounted price. He soon realized he had been swindled, and that he wasn’t the only one in Qatar to be conned by these salesmen. Here, he shares his story to help others hold onto their hard-earned money.[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ast week, I became a victim of fraud in West Bay. I was approached by two guys in a white SUV just outside Palm Tower, asking me for directions to the airport.
I stopped to give them directions and moved on. But then they stopped their car, saying that they would like to return the favor (huge mistake – I should have kept moving).
The men were around 1.8-1.85m (5’ 9”) tall and overweight. The driver had brown/blonde hair and the other had black hair.
The driver came out of the car and presented himself as an Italian fashion designer who worked for Armani. He even showed me his passport, though I doubt he was Italian since I did not hear him speak with an Italian accent.
He also gave me his business card. He said that he and his friend were going back to Italy after holding a presentation of Emporio Armani suits and other clothes to their partners in Doha.
They had retained three men’s suits and one women’s jacket after the presentation to take home, but since the suits did not fit them or their wives, they were willing to sell them to me as a favor for helping them on their way to the airport.
To prove they were actual Armani suits, the man showed me an invoice that said the total price for them was around €10,500 (QR42,500).
He even showed me the labels of the suits, and I was convinced they were Armani (even though I don’t posses any Armani clothing).
Now came the con – even though they paid so much for the items, they said would they sell it all to me for half the price of one of the suits.
At first I did not want to accept that “gift,” but the guy was convincing, and he opened my car and put the clothes in the car.
When I tried to return them to him, he then dropped the price, and said he did not want the clothes back. I felt guilty when he gave me all these clothes for nothing, and felt like I should give him something in return.
So I pulled out my wallet and started counting cash to give to him.
I know, I should have returned the suits to him, got in the car and driven home. However, I did not.
Instead, as I was counting, the man decided to “help me” and after a few seconds, took everything from my wallet, went to his car and drove away. I was left outside my car, stunned, with suits inside my car and all of my money gone.
Without looking at the suit, I was sure they were fake. I reacted too slow, so they had enough time to disappear.
The outcome: I have three fake suits and one fake women’s jacket (the label says Andrea Ermanni not Emporio Armani but with a very similar logo) in my closet, and I lost more than QR3,500.
I would like to warn everyone that this may happen to them as well, as these guys were very practiced at their scam.
If you are in a similar situation and do not want to be tricked the same way I was, I suggest doing the following:
- Do not carry a lot of cash with you;
- Walk away as soon as they mention doing you a favor;
- Do not let them manipulate you by putting the suit (or any other merchandise) in your car;
- Do not feel guilty for refusing their “generous” offer;
- Never open your wallet in front of them – just say you do not have any cash; and
- If they take the money from you and disappear, at least remember the car’s license plate.
Finally, if you’ve heard about similar cases here in Doha, know that you are not the only one.