Creston is the latest area in the Kootenays to be hit by a gold jewelry scam targeting Good Samaritans.
The scam is relatively simple: A stranger (sometimes accompanied by a woman and a small child) approaches you and claims to be down on their luck and passing through Creston. The stranger says they have gold jewelry to sell, usually necklaces, rings and bracelets. The gold pieces are heavy and feature an 18 karat stamp.
Creston resident and business owner Aries Findlay thought he was helping out a family trying to get back to their hometown in Saskatchewan when their bank card would not work in the bank machine and the bank was closed.
“They showed me their broken bank card, they had a small child with them,” said Findlay. “I wanted to help them out. I did think that the jewellery was real so I gave them $150 for a ring. The ring felt heavy, like gold and had an 18 karat jeweller’s stamp on it.”
A jeweller in Creston has seen a rise in the scam over the last year.
“On average one to three people come into the store throughout the day wanting to have the gold jewelry they purchased evaluated,” said jeweller Tony Mulder of Tony Mulder Jewellery & Gifts. “They tell me their stories, and I say ‘Ok let’s test it’ and the jewelry turns out to be fake. This scam is targeting Creston’s Good Samaritans, people wanting to help someone else out.”
In May the Cranbrook RCMP were asking for the public’s assistance to locate a man approaching people offering to trade gold rings in exchange for money.
“If anyone approaches you for money in exchange for jewellery, be wary. These individuals are very convincing,” said Cranbrook RCMP officer Constable Katie Forgeron.