A jeweler in Langford has warned residents of a scam that has become so widespread in recent months.
Cory Kowalchuk, owner of Westshore Jewelry, said that over the past few months, at least 40 people have come forward to authenticate or sell jewelry they obtained through the same scam.
Kowalchuk said people, usually a couple, sometimes with children, said they had lost their wallets and needed money to get on the ferry. They then offer targeted “expensive” jewelry at a discounted price. When people come to Kowalchuk’s store to resell it or verify its authenticity, they realize they’ve been scammed.
“Some people were really upset, some people laughed it off, and some people felt like they were being used. You could tell on their faces, ‘Oh, I should have known. “It’s heartbreaking when you see someone being scammed.”
Kowalchuk said he regularly saw businessmen being targeted in large car parks such as Westshore Town Centre. They will offer rings or bands, usually rough or unpolished looking, usually brass or gold in color, and usually stamped with “18 Karat Gold”. Sometimes they sell for as little as $20, Kowalchuk said, but others have lost as much as $700 to the scam.
“A guy came out of the bank and gave her $300, and she started crying. She was like, ‘I paid a lot of money for this. Are you sure you can’t give me some more? They’ve already won. They’ve earned something for nothing, greedy People…need to work harder and take more of this guy’s money. It really pisses me off.”
West Coast RCMP spokesman Cpl. Nancy Saggar said they had received several reports of similar incidents in the last year, one of which was received on Tuesday (April 11).
“Fraudsters often use emotional stories to lure victims. If you experience a suspicious encounter like this, please call the police and do not purchase the item,” she said in an email. “We advise consumers to avoid purchasing high-value items such as jewelry from anyone or anywhere other than reputable businesses.”
Kowalchuk echoed that suggestion, saying that if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
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Langford West Shore RCMP