Children were used to defraud victims in a disturbing twist on gold jewelry scams
There are thousands of victims in the West Shore area after falling prey to elaborate and heartbreaking scams that used young children as accomplices in a gold jewelry scam.
Langford jeweler Cory Kowalchuk has seen his fair share of gold over the years. But in those four months, he’s noticed a disturbing trend among his Westshore Jewelry customers.
“About four months ago, people started having jewelry that is usually made of brass.
Kowalchuk said about 40 people came to check the authenticity of the gold jewelry they had purchased. He said every story was the same: The victim was approached by a couple in a parking lot on the West Shore with two young children and heartbreaking stories.
“People say we have to take the ferry. Please help us. We lost our wallets and our car was broken into. I have this money. Please exchange it for cash.” Why not?’ We have to get our family back to the Lower Mainland,’ he said.
The victims he spoke to reported handing over between $200 and $700, he said.
“Broadly speaking, we did the math this morning. About $20,000 was taken from the community, working people in our community,” Kowalchuk said.
Cory Kowalchuk, a Langford jeweler, said in recent weeks he has seen dozens of people fall prey to scams that use children to trick victims. April 12, 2023.
The RCMP says the scam isn’t limited to the West Coast. Similar scams have been reported in Victoria, Saanich and the Lower Mainland over the years. And police say scammers are particularly good at preying on people’s emotions.
READ MORE: VicPD Warns 61-Year-Old Man About Gold Jewelry Scam After Losing $460
“Scammers are trying to pull you in with an emotional story. They may even be emotional. They’re crying. They’re basically trying to sell it to you and saying, ‘ I’m in a really bad position here, can you help me?” said West Shore RCMP Cpl.Nancy Sagar
Only one official report has been filed so far, according to Saggar, although some 40 people have visited Westshore Jewelry with counterfeit gold in the past few months. She urges anyone who has been the victim of this type of scam to report it as soon as possible.
“Yes, it may be embarrassing, but the ultimate goal here is to stop someone else from being victimized, so please step forward.”
Witnesses said the suspects in the jewelry scam were a French-Canadian couple with two children in the car, ages 5 to 10. He said he was spotted driving a plate car and an Ontario plate car.
If you have been contacted or have any information, we encourage you to contact the West Shore RCMP.
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