Update #4 – More pictures, more information…
Update #3 – More pictures…they keep coming…
Update #2 – We have added more pictures and more details as we continue to see more people scammed.
We have recently seen a huge increase in the number of fake gold rings marked 18K and fake gold cuban link chains marked as both 14K and 18K coming into the Denver metro Gold Rush locations. As our staff started noticing the uptick in fake gold jewelry, they also noticed that the items seemed to look very similar. Then the volume went up another level or two and our staff was seeing far too many people in a single day with this exact same fake gold jewelry. We started taking pictures and sharing amongst the Specialist and found that we were, indeed, seeing the same exact items over and over again. And it’s all 100% fake and 100% scam. We think there might be an organized scam going on in Denver involving these fake gold items.
The image above is a screen shot from the LetGo app that was given to use by a victim of this scam in Colorado Springs on Sunday March 11, 2018. This victim thought he was getting a good deal on an 18K men’s ring. He brought the item to us, after he paid for it, and we proved it to be fake. The item he bought looks exactly like a ring in the image slider above. We were able to find the same seller with the same items for sale just before we published this update.
This is an article from a Sacramento, CA newspaper about this exact same scam going on in California in February of this year – http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article200668809.html
Notice the images in the article are identical to the images in the slider above? The images we used in this blog post are all items that physically came into one of our locations and tested as fake. We have tried to capture as many images of the actual items as we can. The images from the Sacramento news article prove that this is a much bigger issue than a local criminal at a gas station.
Below are a few more screen shots from other “garage sale” apps where we found the exact same items and a lot of sketchy communication from the seller…
Here’s What We Know…
- Most of these clients had roughly the same story – They bought the items from a guy in a parking lot who was “stranded” and needing money “to get home” or “for gas” or some version of that. There was a wife and children in a vehicle in several of these stories. The “wife and children” were distressed, crying, etc. in multiple versions of this scam. Alternatively, we have seen a few of these come to us where the client said they bought it on Craigslist. Due to the embarrassing nature of this ordeal, most clients have not been forthcoming with how much they gave the guy. Most of these clients have also said that the guy talks a good game with a good knowledge of gold jewelry. The “wife” is part of the scam and making the situation seem urgent and dire as she cries out loud for your money. He has a convincing story and definitely pulls on your heart strings.
- One of the recurring items is a unique looking mens ring stamped “18K” and/or “750” (which mean the same thing). The ring is heavy and feels substantial in your hand. The markings or “art” on the top fo the ring varies between a Nike swoosh symbol to a handful of other slightly modified styles. They all look nearly identical excepting for slight variations on the top, or “Head”. The lower part, or “Shank” is uniform and identical in almost every instance. The ring is unique enough to pay attention to. All of the variations in the images above are fake. We have seen chains stamped “14K Italy” and “18K”. One of them has some distinguishing marks that you can see in the image above. Otherwise it’s a fairly common piece of jewelry.
- We have heard of a black 4-door Jeep Wrangler is involved in the scam. The “wife and kids” are usually hovering in or around the Jeep according to most accounts.
- The man has been described to us a dark skinned male with dark/black hair. Again, due to the embarrassing nature of this we have not heard a comprehensive or uniform description of the man or the woman involved. We have had clients say the man look middle-eastern, hispanic, and caucasian. They have not been dressed as though they are homeless. And the newer 4-door Jeep certainly aids in the presentation of their scam.
- We have seen these items in Aurora, Westminster, and Denver most often. But have seen these items come into in all 7 of our Colorado locations from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs. We believe that the actual scam artist(s) are floating from gas station to gas station around the Denver metro though.
- If this happened once or twice, it would be chalked up to bad things that happen in a big city. But we have seen these items upwards of 20 times in any one day across the Denver metro. This has now been going on for over a month and not a one time rip-off. This seems to be an organized and calculated effort to steal your money.
- We have reached out to multiple law enforcement and news agencies and provided as much information as possible.
The bottom line is do not buy gold jewelry from a guy in a parking lot! If you feel the need to do so, bring it to us FIRST and we will authenticate it for free!
We have seen too many clients with these exact items to believe that this is a one-time or short-term problem. Someone is moving a lot of these items through the same method – playing on your emotions and your empathy. It’s pure scam and will certainly impact, in a negative manner, the people who truly need help.
You can always bring your items, any item, to a Gold Rush Specialist in one of our 7 Colorado locations, 7 days a week, for a free, no obligation, offer on anything that we can buy.