Is Frontstreet being flooded with cosmetic scam operations? (UPDATED)

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***EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE BY SXM TALKS ***

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PHILIPSBURG – Reliable sources on Front Street have sounded the alarm bell on what they call cosmetic scam operations popping up all over Front street in the past months and having a negative effect on the image of the island.

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Apparently, these shops offer cosmetic products with allegedly ingredients from Israel which they aggressively try to sell to anyone passing by, usually unassuming tourists, for large sums of money.

One source says: “If you would take a walk from Rouge et Noir casino to the former RBC Bank at the head of town, you will find at least 6-7 of these stores. You will find a person standing in front of the entrance offering a free samples of some sort of cream. All Israelis. All ex-military. I have no idea if Inspection Department is aware but one was shut down but opened the next day again”.

The source continues: “In the coming months there will be 8 (!) of these stores on Front Street alone. They pay extremely high rents (USD 12.000) a month. However, this looks like a huge scam which can hurt the economy and image of the island for years to come. This is an alarming development and the accelerator of an already apparent downward spiral. The complaints are already happening and tourists are afraid to come to Front Street”.

The source referenced a website that posted an article titled “Exposed: The International Scandal of Israeli’s Dead Sea Product Gawkers” that reveals that this cosmetic scam operation originates in Israel and has been spreading the globe quickly: http://www.timesofisrael.com/dead-sea-product-hawkers-skirt-law-decency/

According to the article: “A New Zealand mall made headlines when it booted out an Israeli cosmetic kiosk for aggressive tactics this summer, but the US has been investigating fraud and illegal employment for years”.

The article further states: “Young Israelis hawking skin care products, ostensibly made from minerals from the Dead Sea, have become a common sight in malls around the world. They grab customers passing by their kiosks and coerce them into buying overpriced cosmetics, many in an attempt to make money as quickly as possible to fund post-army travels”. 9545320

“But the aggressive maneuvers utilized by the Israeli salespeople, coupled with the fact that many of them are working illegally, have roused the suspicions of the FBI, US Homeland Security, embassies around the world trying to combat labor fraud, and journalists who are uncovering questionable sales tactics”.

There are many reports and articles on the apparent global cosmetic scam with Dead Sea products. Google has countless of them, such as this a Wikileaks document: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09TELAVIV423_a.html

One has to question if the Minister of TEATT and her department is aware of this alarming situation and if any structural controls are being conducted to ensure that these businesses are operating with the necessary paperwork, that their products are legitimate, that their staff are legal and that their aggressive sales tactics to squander large sums of money from unassuming tourists is not negatively affecting the island experience of our esteemed tourists which will deteriorate the image of St. Maarten abroad.

*** UPDATE ***

After publishing this story, SXM Talks was contacted by another source that would like to stay anonymous. Here is the email received:

“(I would like to stay anonymous)
To whom it may concern,
There are illegal professional scammers taking over Front Street Philipsburg that are selling dangerous & poor quality face and skin products at extremely high prices. They also do not let you leave the store until you buy something. They are aggressive and liars with no shame using any means necessary just to make money.
They are ripping off honest hard working locals and tourists on a daily basis and no one seems to care! Someone has to stand up against this and more importantly investigate it and warn the public of our island.
So far there are 6 cosmetics businesses on front street Philipsburg with illegal (30-40) employees from Israel without work or resident permits. Not only does this take away from local employment opportunities, taxes are not being paid which also takes away from economic growth as well.
Please see attached photos of the actual stores, reviews from around the world, complains from the ripoff report website & articles of the same system they use around the world”.
Reviews:

Lionesse Precious Gems:

yelp.com/biz/lionesse-beauty-bar-las-vegas-7

L’Core Paris 14K Gold skin care:

yelp.com/biz/luxury-cosmetics-las-vegas-3

Forever Flawless Diamond skin care:

yelp.com/biz/forever-flawless-san-diego-3

Adore Natural skin care:

yelp.com/biz/adore-organic-innovations-beverly-hills

You can find many complains on this well known website :

The source also sent pictures which we have included below.

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***EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE BY SXM TALKS ***

 

 

 

 

26 COMMENTS

  1. Together we can over throw the scammers who hurt daily income. These owners are wealthy and can afford to disrupt our future. Make a vote to start a Letter to the govt , tax office , Chamber and finally help the tourist to make a report of Harrasment. One bad reviews travels to ten humans. Why we should suffer on others Illict greed.

  2. It’s time to take severe action on front street. We all are loosing revenue as the merchants only employ Indians and 10 percentage of locals. How does it benefit our local economy ? As for robberies at night need to require strict police patrol and most important is to educate who are young or old to earn a income. St Maarten remains the best island in the carribbean. Crime exists without education , lack of jobs and a true respect for one another. Hard work is the key to success. Let’s not waste time wror

  3. These kinds of businesses should not exist in St Maarten. It’s unethical and illegal to sell under false pretenses. The best way is to Check with chamber offices who are these owners and who are the landlords who allow a entity to exist. This is a very issue and public has full right to know. Chamber office offers all information with a extract to proof a existing business on the island. We request this be taken seriously and take a action before 2016 season starts. We are the proud people who make this great island. It’s true shame people misuse our liberty to allow business to con tourists. Do note without tourism our island is handicapped. There should be a full report and a inquiry to deport illegal who work on this island without permits. Main questions goes tax office should check there Credit card terminals as well bank details to insure money is deposited in St Maarten. There is practice of illegal monies being transferred. We are anonymous as the merchants connections reach to far and can hurt our living if we are questioned.

    We all need to unite!!!!!

  4. These kinds of establishment affect the Other honest ,Harding store owners. Tourist are afraid to walk front street as these scam st

  5. In regards to these cosmetic stores they are in partnership owned by local Env which are Indian diamond retailers. These stores are paying huge rents , it’s next to impossible to create a revenue from the overheads. In short it’s a scam of money laundering from the local diamond retailers.

  6. Bibi shaw
    I hope no one takes you seriously, you are a prostitute and an ex addict,
    Recently our sources finds out that there are numerous people who about to file a law suite claiming they got HIV from you.

    • I personally feel it’s now ethical to slander anyone personally. Anyone s past is no ones business. Person who wrote this about Bibi past is true coward. Shame on you !!!!!

  7. Just so everyone reading this article is aware the journalist is an ex prostitute from gauyanna and has been sued countless times for slandering and bashing companies faslafining proof she holds a degree in journalism on this island and has lost all cases against her. Google the name Bibi. Shaw. And let’s discuss what you find.

  8. They are very aggressive and one man accused be of lying. I think they are a pain in the rear but they aren’t nearly as big a pain as the ladies and gentlemen on the beaches. Also some maybe from Israel but must of the ladies that were handing out samples were locals.

  9. I think that the bigger issue is being over looked here. Yes, the high pressure sales tactics are more than a huge turn off and yes the products are 100% over priced (not to mention everyone gets a different price as the discount is based on how many times you simply tell them that you cannot afford it!). Yes, it is giving St. Maarten a bad reputation as far as the tourists that have been tormented severely enough to actually write in to the local newspaper about it here! There is also no question that they operate on deception and misrepresentation, just read the numerous reviews online or talk to someone who has bought $2,000 worth of face cream!… But at the end of the day it’s not about where or how residents and tourists decide to spend their hard earned money. Its once again about illegal employees that drain the economy of St. Maarten by making large amounts of money without paying taxes and then returning back to their own country with full pockets. They take jobs from residents, from the youth, from the parents trying to provide for their children. Business is good for St. Maarten as a rented store front is better than an empty one but immigration needs to pay a hard visit to their employee situation. Give back employment to the people of St. Maarten or at the very least to the ones who have fought hard to get the proper work permits!

  10. If you dont want to buy, dont buy! Simple as that, i will care more for the police that doesnt do nothing, or the garbage that is all around the island. And i dont talk about tourists that throw garbage around…

  11. Most comments below sound like they are coming from the cosmetic shop keepers the article is referring to.

  12. this article is nothing but nonsense , if this is a major headline for st.maarten then I feel very sad for the future of this island. Currently government is non existent and our leaders choose to worry about there own pockets instead.. Front street at night has become a place even local people don’t feel safe to walk through at night let alone tourists. Instead of worrying about how people buy things, worry if they are scared of being robbed at night or for some even in broad daylight light

  13. Sounds like a store owner who can’t sell any of his products and now finds someone to blame for! Who better than Israelis to blame? Just the usual! These jewelry owners think the street belongs to them and if you dare take some of there market shares they will just play it dirty! Lets look on trip advisor about those indian stores see who the scam is!!! Nonsens! More business to the island and finally something different than jewelry store should be welcomed!

  14. Stop bedmothing new and legit business who are coming to sxm and helping the aconomy.
    Your “reliable sources ” is one envy frustrated indian store owner who thinks he own main street and dont want athers to success.
    I dont understand why local media is giving a stage to all this nonsense.

    • 8 cosmetic stores located less than 200 yards from each other selling bogus products sounds like a scam to me

      • And Jewelery stores located side by side, not more than 1ft away! Selling the same Jewlery for more or less! You should work together not against!

  15. And this is exactly how Sint Maarten is….trying to get down business who are doing good or coming into some peoples world. Please get a life and give some attention about the **** parking on the boardwalk and make Philipsburg safe and attractive for tourists and locals at night again instead of complaining how people sell.

  16. All the front street also full in jewelry stores!! So ?!?! And all the Indians ppl very big scam for many years!

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