Fake gold scams are once again on the rise in B.C.’s southern interior.
The scammers approach their victims in high traffic areas such as gas stations or grocery stores, trying to sell gold jewelry said RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.
“They often target the kind of individuals who have a natural inclination to want to help someone in need or distress,” said Cpl. O’Donaghey.
After the transaction is complete the victim discovers the gold isn’t real.
The scammers often claim to have lost their wallets, need money for hospital bills or need money to escape an abusive relationship. They offer gold jewelry as collateral for cash.
Scammers are both men and women, and often appear to be South Asian or Middle Easter and sometimes claim to be from Dubai or Saudi Arabia. They usually travel in a rental vehicle and sometimes have small children.
While COVID-19 restrictions appeared to have caused a decrease in the number of scams taking place in early 2020, there have been reports from Kelowna, Cranbrook, Penticton, Kamloops and the North Okanagan in both June and July indicating that the offenders are once again travelling the region.
From April to December 2019 there were 61 reports of fake gold scams across the Southeast District. The scammers have conned residents out of an estimated $15,000.
The RCMP is encouraging those who were victims of this scam to call the local police.
“We recognize that many occurrences go unreported, as often times victims are embarrassed to acknowledge that they have fallen for these tactics,” said Cpl. O’Donaghey.