I just left one of our clients and you won’t believe this. One of their employees had just been scammed into buying cheap, gold-plated jewelry for $200 from a stranger with a sob story. It reminded me that just last week this same thing had happened at our office building, the Manoa Innovation Center where a stranger had rather aggressively approached one of the other tenants, handed them some fake jewelry and demanded payment.
This is an old scam and there’s a good chance these tricksters are on a road trip all around the country, making a pit stop in Hawaii. For the past week, they have hit the streets all around Oahu, have been spotted pulling into a parking lot on the Pali Highway, getting gas at a Sand Island station and approaching workers on a Kapolei job site.
Each time they are looking for the same thing: someone gullible. They’re approaching individuals and say they are desperate and they are willing to let this jewelry go for a discounted price. The jewelry is touted as high-end gold, worth thousands of dollars. The scammers claim they are forced to sell it on the street for a fraction of its fictional value as they have run into some hard times or they need a place to stay until they get back to where ever they are from. They are hoping the victim will feel sorry for them, and purchase the jewelry.
The scammers are described on social media as being European gypsies…sometimes two men, sometimes a woman, or maybe a group. All with jewelry to sell, along with a sob story. By all accounts, they don’t appear to be local and their persuasion skills appear to be effective. On social media, a number of people have already been scammed out of hundreds of dollars. Now police are involved because if they are purporting it to be authentic, but it’s actually fake it’s called theft by deception. This type of theft is considered only a misdemeanor until someone is ripped off for more than $750, then it becomes a felony.
Like so many other things, if it sounds too good to be true it probably isn’t. If you see the scammers call police.
Stay safe out there.