7DAYS readers reveal how they were caught out
By Ismail Sebugwaawo More victims of bad cheque scams have spoken out after Abu Dhabi authorities detained a conman who bought cars with bounced cheques.
7DAYS reported last week that a Syrian man was arrested by police and charged with taking expensive cars from owners after giving them bad cheques and then selling on the cars for a lower value.
Abu Dhabi prosecutors said the man, in his 30s, was involved in 17 scams including duping car owners into handing him luxurious cars and making them sign sale agreements after he gave them cheques, which later bounced.
After reading at the article other people contacted 7DAYS to tell their stories about how they were also duped in similar ways and are yet to recover their cash from the conmen, to raise awareness of cheque scams.
Nassib Haddad says he lost his BMW in June 2015 to a conman from Ras Al Khaimah.
“The man phoned me saying he was interested in buying my car after I advertised its sale on Dubizzle,” he said.
The 36-year-old Dubai businessman said the Emirati man came along with his friend and met him in the Al Barsha area of Dubai during the evening to see the car.
“After seeing the car, they suggested that we go to Al Barsha vehicle inspection centre where the car was inspected on the same day and passed,” said Haddad.
The man then offered to buy the car for Dhs200,000 and would pay by cheque.
“At first, I refused to take the cheque,” says Haddad.
“But when the man insisted, claiming they were from Ras Al Khaimah and wouldn’t be able to return to Dubai soon, I accepted.”
He added: “And the fact that they were Emiratis, I trusted them and gave in my car after they signed the cheque.”
Haddad said that when he went to the bank the following day, he was told the Emirati didn’t have sufficient balance left.
He says he filed a complaint with Al Barsha Police Station but later learned that since October last year, the man was arrested and prosecuted in RAK over 13 similar scams.
“It's very unfortunate. Especially that he was an Emirati and until that moment, I had full trust in our local friends,” said Haddad.
Another victim, a 34-year-old Indian woman, and owner of a fitness equipment firm in Dubai’s Business Bay says in 2014, a Syrian man took eight units of fitness equipment worth Dhs330,000 from them and gave them cheques, all of which bounced when they attempted to deposit them. “We took the case to Bur Dubai Police Station,” she said. “According to police records, the man had been involved in several bounced cheque cases.” She added: “I don’t think the man has been caught till now because we haven’t heard anything yet from police. He might be continuing these activities with other companies. “I’m sharing my case with 7DAYS to inform people about such scams because it could save many others from going through the same situation,” she said.