Scammers in Dubai are preying on the sense of helplessness that affects many men when they fear they are going bald. By convincing passers-by that a miracle hair loss solution is available in a shop nearby, street hawkers are conning men out of hundreds of pounds at a time.
Hair loss has been the subject of numerous press stories in Dubai, where it seems to be especially endemic. The reasons why the genetic condition Male Pattern Baldness seems so prevalent there are unclear, though everything from increased genetic predisposition to the weather to the water have been blamed. With a good head of hair so highly prized in the UAE, it is little surprise that unscrupulous conmen have recognised a golden opportunity to make money from unsuspecting victims.
Deliberately targeting balding men
Gulf News, the main English language newspaper in the UAE, explains that the fraud involves the tricksters deliberately targeting men who are bald or thinning on top as they walk in an area known as Bur Dubai (pictured). It begins with a friendly chat, during the course of which the scammer reveals that his own luscious locks were brought back with help from a herbal solution. Continues below
Struggling to remember the name of the shop that sells the product, he is then aided by an accomplice – another “passer-by” – who does know the name of the shop, which turns out to be just around the corner. Directions are given and in many instances the victim seeks out the shop to buy the “miracle” cure at 1,000 dirhams (around £190) per bottle.
Unfortunately, the bottle contains nothing more than oil and powder, and once the buyer has had time to apply the solution for a few weeks, he realises he’s been tricked.
One Indian victim of the scam, quoted in the Gulf News article, explained why some people so readily fall for the hustle: “People who have less hair always wish they had more. These people are playing with our feelings,” he said.
The irony is that for the amount the men paid, they could easily have afforded to start a legitimate, clinically-proven course of male hair loss treatment that had been based on years of medical research.
Unfortunately, many men don’t realise how far non-invasive treatments have come in the past decade and, as a result, are happy to give almost anything a try if it presents itself as a possible cure. In reality, specially-tailored courses featuring the key medications minoxidil and finasteride 1mg often used alongside carefully selected hair growth boosters can produce significant regrowth for men with thinning hair from male pattern baldness.
This mentality also explains why so many ‘snake oil’-type products continue to thrive and why there has been a reported rise in hair loss treatment-related crimes over the past few years.
Despite the claims of some hair loss products, especially those available via the internet which can be harder to regulate, while some natural and herbal remedies can be useful to overall hair health, no natural products have yet been clinically proven to actually halt hair loss or grow back new hair.
Many people have also fallen victim to criminals selling banned, stolen or fake hair loss treatments across the UK and USA in particular. Buying these products from disreputable sources is never a good idea as it’s difficult to know for sure what banned and fake ‘treatments’ may contain so using these products can put your health at risk.
Even by purchasing stolen treatments in order to potentially get a better deal on the price, it is unlikely to be worth it as hair loss treatments, particularly those containing minoxidil, need to be stored properly in order to remain effective. It is highly unlikely that criminals will adhere to these rules so you could actually be wasting money on a product which will no longer work either as well as intended or even at all.
A recognised hair loss clinic with a good reputation remains the most sensible choice for anyone – man or woman – who is concerned about thinning or a receding hairline, as the experts employed there will be able to provide a diagnosis, offer guidance, explain options and prescribe the right course of treatment.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.