RCMP in the BC Southern Interior is cautioning residents to avoid falling victim to the Fake Gold Scam, a recurring seasonal crime series that is on the rise once again in the region.
The implementation of COVID-19 restrictions by British Columbia public health officials likely contributed to the reduced number of occurrences in the early portion of 2020.
However reports of the scam that have been received in Kelowna, Cranbrook, Penticton, Kamloops and the North Okanagan, in both June and July, is an indication that offenders are once again travelling the region.
RCMP Southeast District Crime Analysts found that a total of 61 reports of fake gold scams were reported to RCMP across the Southeast District, between April and December 2019. Scammers were active in both small town communities and large urban centers and conned residents out of an estimated $15,000.
Generally these scammers approach their potential victims in higher traffic areas such as, gas stations, grocery stores, shopping malls or plazas. They often target the kind of individuals who have a natural inclination to want to help someone in need or distress, says Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesperson for the BC RCMP in the Southeast District.
As we continue to transition into our new normal, RCMP ask residents to use their common sense and intuition to avoid such scams that will hit you in your wallet.
Tips for recognizing the Fake Gold Scam:
- Scammer approaches their victim and offers to sell them gold jewelry, a transaction is completed and the victim later discovers the gold is not real;
- Scammer approaches an individual and asks for money, often claiming to have lost their wallet and needs money for hospital bills or to escape an abusive domestic relationship. 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;
- Scammers are usually both adult males and females and oftentimes appear South Asian or Middle Eastern, and sometimes claim to be from Dubai or Saudi Arabia;
- Scammers are usually associated to and traveling around in rental vehicles, sometimes with small children;
We recognize that many occurrences go un-reported, 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, adds RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.