“Don’t buy jewelery at the side of the road.”
That’s the advice Princeton RCMP Sergeant Rob Hughes has for Princeton residents.
In the past two months police have received at least 20 calls from people who purchased gold that turned out to be fake, or were asked to purchase gold jewelery under suspicious circumstances.
Hughes said scammers are hitting Princeton hard, compared to previous years.
Usually the person selling the jewelery is driving a car with out-of-province plates, and approaches someone with an offer to buy jewelery at a very low price.
“They seem to be targeting older people.Usually they say they have no money for gas.”
The jewelery is stamped, but when it’s taken to a professional to be valued in turns out to be worthless.
The con artists travel “and seem to roll around the province.”
Ed Muckle, owner of Princeton Emporium, has turned away numerous disappointed victims this summer.
While Muckle buys only placer gold, he’s talked to many people who have bought phony gold rings or necklaces.
He has sometimes had “two or three people a day who have this stuff and want to see what it’s worth.”
Muckle himself was recently approached on the street by someone wanting to sell gold rings for gas money.
He responded: “You just screwed up.”
Muckle said he’s heard that some scammers explain they’ve lost their wallet.
“It sounds like it could be plausible. They are pushing the sympathy and empathy button. I think it’s as much that as people thinking they are going to get something for free.”
The first time Muckle was presented with a phony gold ring he knew right away.
“It didn’t have the right feel. It didn’t have the right weight.”
An electronic test confirmed his suspicions.
“If it’s too good to be true it probably is,” he said.
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