Beware of the Tricks used by Con-Men in Saudi Arabia

A con-man refers to anyone who uses deception or fraudulent methods to acquire monetary or other benefits. Even though we see them every day in our country from our streets to our parliaments, it is not just restricted to our country, it is a global issue which needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. These cons are a nuisance to the residents and such acts take a person’s hard-earned money, which they think are giving away for a good cause, but are rather being taken for personal gains.[irp]

Such acts have only recently sprung up in the Middle East and that too at an alarming rate. It has been warned that if you are approached by a well-dressed young man claiming to be a chronically ill student hoping to get cured, you should refrain from helping them. These students even carry around fraudulent documents to help them in creating a student image so that people would be even more persuaded to help them out. These people have been showing up at the cornice area in Al-Khobar in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, and have been targeting diners at the countless restaurants in the area.

These con-men, who are aged between 20-30 years and belong to various nationalities, go as far as to say that they do not want food or money but need genuine medical help. Knowing that nobody would opt to take them to the hospital and will usually hand them some money and wish them good luck. They give assurances that their respective embassies will refund them, even if they are personally not able to return it. These men state that since public hospitals do not allow the treatment of expats they need to access private hospitals which are expensive and require cash.

Col. Ziad Al-riqaiti who is the spokesperson for the eastern province has stated to Arab news that such cases are handled directly by the police and by officials of the ministry of social affairs and HAIA. They have been conducting surveys in the field and have been arresting and handing these people over to the respective authorities. He has also stated that such acts should not be encouraged and it is becoming a nuisance for the residents.[irp]

He has even said that if they are genuinely needy they can go to the police who can refer them to various charities being run across the country. The police have arrested nearly 300 beggars in the first 3 months from the region most which are women. Such cases not only allow these tricksters to prey on innocent unsuspecting people but it also condemns someone who is genuinely ailing to be associated with the con men hence making them look like liars when they genuinely need help. It is a classic case of the boy who cried wolf one too many times and when the wolf came, no one believed him.