Scammed on fake gold
Sep 25, 2013 / 5:00 am
Several Kelowna residents are out of pocket after being scammed by a hard luck individual on the street.
According to Martin Strasser of Premier Jewellery and Loans, for the last two weeks more than four people have come into his business to have gold jewellery appraised and the items have been fake.
"They are uniformly fake, they are very very good fakes but they are still fake," says Strasser.
The jewellery is being sold outside gas stations and near construction sites, explains Strasser, who goes on to say at least three individuals claimed to pay over $1000 for what they thought was an 18 karat necklace.
"They are very well constructed heavily gold plated, clearly marked. They are usually necklaces, but apparently there is a matching bracelet and a ring."
Strasser wants the public to know while these items may look real, if the deal is too good to be true it probably is.
When it seems like a cash for gold business can be found on almost every street corner, Strasser wonders why anyone would sell a piece of gold jewellery on the street for less than half of its fair market value.
"Gold is extremely expensive and it's easy to sell. So there is very little reason to sell a piece of jewellery to the public when they can take it to an outlet like ours or one of our competitors and get a very aggressive quote on it."
That being said if someone is still looking to buy a piece of gold jewellery at a price that can't be beat, Strasser has some tricks of the trade to help distinguish a fake.
"Construction quality should always be perfect, there should never be another colour of metal underneath it," he says as examines a fake gold bracelet for plating coming apart.
He also recommends taking a piece of sand paper and scratching the jewellery to check for another colour underneath.
"Some people are concerned that this is destructive to the jewellery, and it will cause a little damage but bear in mind it is much better to pay a gold smith $10 to fix a piece than to lose $1000 on a fake piece."
The last example Strasser provides is the most common way to check if gold is fake, and that is by using a magnet to see if the piece will attract to it.
"As you take a magnet over the piece of jewellery you'll actually see, say the necklace, attaching to it and gold should never do that," he says of a fake.
Strasser believes the suspects are likely from out of town, after checking with a member of the trade association it appears pawn shops in Vancouver are seeing the same type of scam taking place with a very similar style necklace.
"Given the number of pieces that are out there, it seems likely that there is a group that has suitcase full of these things and is probably moving from town to town, making a good living," explains Strasser who believes the only way to get rid of them is to spread the word not to purchase the jewellery.
"If a stranger walks up to you and offers to sell you jewellery out of the blue be cautious."
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