Alert: Conmen on the prowl in Muscat.
MUSCAT Eoe1/4" If a man in native attire, speaking impeccable English knocks on your door and pleads to borrow some money saying he needs to urgently take his ailing father to the hospital, it might not be such a good idea to follow the Eoe1/4Y[pounds sterling]charity begins at homeEoe1/4ao dictum. In fact, it might be the last time you see your hard-earned money.
A gentleman, who doesnEoe1/4aot wish to be named, recently posted on a social networking site his encounter with one such conman. When Times of Oman approached him he didnEoe1/4aot wish to talk directly to the press but said that the conman had been known to be operating in Mawaleh, Azaiba and Al Hail areas.
On the website, he mentioned how he was approached on a Friday around 2.30pm by a man who called himself Juma Al Maskari. He looked the part and had knocked on his door to borrow RO100, as his father had apparently suffered a stroke and his brother was stuck in Nizwa with his wallet in the car.
The gentleman concerned had read about such conmen operating in the city, so he politely declined and shut the door on him. But he was deft enough to note down the registration number of the white car that Juma Al Maskari was driving.
Eoe1/4EoHe was driving a white hired car (Nissan Sunny),Eoe1/4A[yen] he writes, and informs that an Oman Air pilot had been duped by such a conman.
But it looks as if this is not the only incident.
Trish Pienaar and her husband too learnt an expensive lesson, when giving in to the sob story of a man, who claimed to be their neighbour. TrishEoe1/4aos husband parted with RO70. Talking about the incident, Trish says, Eoe1/4EoThis happened around the end of August. We had recently moved into our home in Al Khuwair north, and I wasnEoe1/4aot home. My husband was at home and I walked in just as this man was leaving Eoe1/4" he was a very friendly guy, well-dressed and spoke good English.
According to my husband, his story was well thought-out and believable. Also, we had been advised by an Omani friend that Omani neighbours were friendly and might come over, or we should go over and introduce ourselves. So we thought it was authentic.Eoe1/4A[yen]
When asked about the story that had thinned down her husbandEoe1/4aos wallet, Trish says, Eoe1/4EoI learnt that he had told my husband that he was a neighbour and that his father was sick. That he was in a wheelchair and had just had a heart attack, so he had to get him to the hospital. He said he needed to pay a deposit at the hospital, and promised to pay back the borrowed amount the next day.Eoe1/4A[yen]
When asked why she hadnEoe1/4aot informed the cops about the incident, Trish explained, Eoe1/4EoSince we had no information on him, we thought that the police would not be able to help.Eoe1/4A[yen]
Even though they might dress like the natives, speculations are on that these conmen might actually not be Omanis.
The ROP too, is said to be on the lookout for these tricksters, but until they are nabbed, do refrain from opening your door and your wallet unless you are sure that the cause is genuine.
Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2009
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