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Fun on Friday: The Story Doesn’t Ring True, But The Scam Worked

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This week, I want to talk about scams.

Now there are some pretty sophisticated scams out there, and I can see how people get fooled. I’ve been tempted to click on an email link or two because they really seemed legit, or appeared to come from people I knew. No – not the prince from Nigeria telling me he wanted to give me a bunch of money. More believable stuff.

Fortunately, my hyper-cynicism and distrust of virtually everybody have kept me safe from even the most convincing scams. I just don’t click links or respond to phone calls. But like I said, I’m sympathetic to people who get scammed – especially older folks who aren’t particularly internet savvy. Like, I can see how grandma might believe the nice Indian fella calling really does need to access her computer to fix her Windows. Seems legit if you don’t really know how tech support works, right?

But some scams are so implausible, I can’t wrap my head around how they ever succeed. Take this gold scam out of British Columbia. I’m just going to post the description of this rip-off verbatim from the Surry Now-Leader.

In at least one version of the scam, a hapless person is approached at a gas station or in a parking lot with a sob story from a couple with a van with Alberta license plates. In a story relayed to the jewelers, the couple said they left Edmonton for a drive but went too far. They didn’t have any money for gas and they needed to get back to Alberta to catch a flight to Dubai. That’s when they offer up the 18-karat gold rings, necklaces and bracelets for what would be a bargain price. And some people fall for it, whether it’s out of sympathy to help the seemingly desperate couple get some gas money, or greed on behalf of the person thinking they’ll make some cash on a gold transaction, or a little of both.”

OK – these people said they left Edmonton for a drive but “went too far.” Now you probably don’t know how far it is from Edmonton, Alberta, to Surrey, B.C. I didn’t. But Google tells me it’s about 700 miles, and it takes about 12 hours to make the trip. That’s one hell of a little drive!

“Honey, let’s go for a drive.”

“OK, that would be nice!”

*12 hours later* ”

Do you think we’ve gone too far?”

“Maybe. And we’re out of gas.”

So, this story has already reached peak absurdity. But it get’s goofier. This couple who decided to embark on a 12-hour drive and doesn’t have any money to buy gas managed to purchase two plane tickets to Dubai –  one of the most opulent and expensive cities in the world.

What?

Did they max out the Amex on the plane tickets? Did they spend all their cash on snacks? Or did the first tank of gas or two tap them out? Because you don’t drive 12 hours in a van on one tank of gas. I mean — talk about poor planning. Yes – let’s take a 12-hour drive with no money.

But don’t despair! Our intrepid couple may embark on a highway adventure with no way to buy gas, but they did remember to bring their 18-karat gold jewelry. And by gosh, they’ll sell it to you at bargain basement prices right there at the filling station.

And some people fell for it.

So – here’s my nickel’s worth of free advice.  Don’t buy gold jewelry in the gas station parking lot. Why? Because IT’S NOT REAL!

As the article points out, you will rarely find a man’s ring made from 18-karat gold. It’s too soft. That should have been a clue – if you didn’t realize that somebody selling gold jewelry in the gas station parking lot for a bargain price might be scamming you.

I know. Shocking. But as the old saying goes, if it seems too-good-to-be-true, it probably is. So, if somebody tells you a tall tale trying to sell you gold and it doesn’t ring true (pun intended), just say no.

If you want to buy gold, there are better ways than waiting in the gas station parking lot for a hapless traveler. You can call a SchiffGold precious metals specialist. They can help you make the best investment for your situation. The gold will be real. But sorry, they won’t be able to hook you up with a filling station hotdog or a cup of coffee.

Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. We dig up some of the off-the-wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Click here to read other posts in this series.

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