Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pssst. Wanna buy a suit?

I'm sure it must be a scam, although I don't know exactly what it is because I always cut it short.

Walking in Dubai Marina I've been stopped now about ten times by a car pulling up alongside.

"Scusi. Can you please tell me the way to Sheikh Zayed Road, there are no signs"

The passenger is always Italian, presentable, friendly.

I tell him how to get to SZR.

Profuse thanks, then "Where are you from?"

"Ah, Australia. Melbourne or Sydney? I have a brother in Melbourne".

When I say Sydney they usually ask whether I know Machiavalli restaurant - one of my favourites as it happens.

They go on to say they've been working in Oz, more often than not as interior designer at the Versace hotel on the Gold Coast. But...they've changed occupations and now are in Italian fashion and can make me an offer which presumably is too good not to accept.

That's when I tell them I'm not buying and say ciao.

I wonder how the scam plays out. Anyone know?


Paraglider said...

I don't think it's really a scam so much as a hard sell of 'designer' copies. I went through the whole performance once, tried on two jackets, bought nothing and walked away. I was conscious throughout of my wallet, just in case it was a very elaborate pickpocket routine.
So no, I don't really get it either.

Lebanon News: Under Rug Swept said...

gulfnews had covered the scam in xpress on july 14. As expected the suits are counterfeits but then you are buying them off the street. I think that's about it, you think you are getting a bargain but its not worth it. Plus the article says that the scammers mostly operate in Bur Dubai and Deira so it seems they are expanding. Google gulfnews ramadan alert top 5 scams for the full article.

Neil Roberts said...

Bush Mechanic said...

Festival City, ACE car park,
"Scuse, I canna find the Airpot...."
I thought it was Nino Culotta.

Dave said...

A terrific part of Dubai's history I believe....

Seabee said...

Thanks all. I'm disappointed that's all it is, it's very unimaginative.

Pete Braham said...

Yeah, I had them last year in the Springs village. I enjoyed the conversation as I speak Italian. It's a well known confidence trick. The old - establish rapport then, I just happen to have some suits/ speakers/ jewellery etc as you helped me I can help you - trick

Anonymous said...

hat happened to me in Dec 2011 in Dubai at Sheik Zayed Road at Dubai Marina Metro Station.
2 guys (italien??), white japanese (rented?) car, same story, (where you are from? Berlin! - I have business / girlfriend in Berlin...)3 Armani suits, left over , as a gift for me.... but please do me a favour... and so on.
They were so kind and brought me to the Hotel Grosvenor House, just around the corner.
As they recognized, that there was no business possible with me, they drove away after a while.
On the business card:
"Salvatore Management" - Import & Export Italian Fashion - Roma Telefax - Milano Telefax - E-mail -

For interested people: I shot a photo from this guy....

Sascha said...

Hey Tom, I just had the same guy yesterday at Ibn Batutta Mall Parking Lot.
Same trick. White rental car. Two "italian" guys (I think they might have actually been meditaranian arabs maybe syrian or lebanese). Francesco a little bit overweight and Salvatore a presentable and avid business man. Same business card, same email address! They asked for the way to the airport, then wanted to give me a suit at the end they asked for a "small favor". 2000 Dirhams worth of perfume for them and their wives back in "Milano"! Yeah Right!

Neil Roberts said...

Same story again this week in DIC.... The guys must sell some or they wouldn't keep trying

Biggsy said...

Happened to me today in Tecom. Such a nice guy as well!! didn't buy anything just the usual three suits but some nice towels now with a bathrobe as an extra for the wife!!! Same MO white rental car actually probably a real one with a fake hertz logo on the back!!

Dave Kaufman said...

Sorry but this is a complete scam.

Its a chap usually in a car with a colleague who's always in the drivers seat with the engine running.

Had a similar situation at ACE hardware in festival city until security saw him and they sped away.

The guy says he's looking for the airport having just been to a fashion show and doesn't want to fly back with the suits.

They're all copies as the inner sleeve tags are missing.

Be aware that this chap has been operating and preying on expats for a number of years.

Jens said...

I think I trapped into it today. Same story as everybody tells, but it sounded and looked so real. Suits seem really to have very good quality. And 3 suits for an Iphone5c is somehow still a good deal. Even buying a fake one somewhere in Kahrama would cost more.
The business card that he gave me says Cristian, the website is That really exists.
Oh well, I spent more money before for more stupid things. Let's see how long the suits last...

Anonymous said...

The guys are still around - Dubai Media City today - same story.

White Chrysler 300 reg no 68277 if I remember correctly.

180 cm, overweight, bald, 35-40 years of age.