Mounties are warning of a fake gold scam going around in the Southern Interior.
Scammers approach their victims, often people who are naturally inclined to want to help people in need, at gas stations, grocery stores, shopping malls or plazas.
The fraudsters then offer to sell them gold jewelry; the transaction is completed but the victim later finds out the gold is fake.
In another case, the scammer asks for money, often claiming to have lost their wallet. They say they need money for hospital bills or to escape an abusive domestic relationship, according to a news release from RCMP.
“In this scenario, the con artist offers gold jewelry to the victim as collateral. The victim later discovers the gold is not real and does not hear back from the suspect,” police say.
Scammers are usually both adult males and females; they usually appear South Asian or Middle Eastern, and sometimes claim to be from Dubai or Saudi Arabia. Some travel around in rental vehicles, sometimes with small children.
“We recognize that many occurrences go unreported, as often times victims are embarrassed to acknowledge that they have fallen for these tactics. If you or a loved one has fallen victim to a similar scam, please call your local police,” Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey says in the release.
Between April and December 2019, Southeast District Mounties received 61 reports about the fake gold scam. Residents in the region were conned out of an estimated $15,000.
There weren’t as many incidents in the first part of 2020, likely due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place, RCMP say.
However, offenders are on the move again, with reports coming from Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Penticton and the North Okanagan in June and July.