GREELEY, Colo. — Pawn shops say scammers are using fake gold as a ploy to get money in northern Colorado.
“This one is real and probably worth $200 to $300 depending on its weight,” said Steven with Mister Money.
Gold necklaces, rings and watches are a hot commodity, and for many, an easy way to get fast cash. But the Mister Money in Greeley is seeing an influx of fakes.
“We started seeing one or two a day for the last week,” Steven said.
The scam is nearly always the same.
A man approaches in a parking lot to say his car broke down and he needs cash. That man, who appears down on his luck, offers a gold necklace. The unsuspecting person believes it’s a fair trade and hands over $50.
“I think there’s two things. They want to help somebody and they think they’re getting a really good deal at the same time,” Steven said.
But when they bring the ring into a pawn shop to get cash, they find out it’s not real.
Jewelers say the scam is a hard one to detect, even if trying the magnet test.
“The one thing everyone knows is the magnet test,” Steven said. “Unfortunately, with these fakes they’re brass, and brass is also not magnetic just like gold.
“So, we have the real one here and it has no reaction to a magnet and these two are brass and they also have no reaction to a magnet.”
This pawn shop takes it a step further. It uses an acid test to tell the real from the fake. It said a real gold mark will hold up strong, while the brass rings intended to look like gold will vanish.
“This one is brass so it’s going to have a flash of green and then disappear,” Steven said.
The bottom line: Think twice before accepting any supposed gold as a form of payment.
“We hate to see it. Nobody likes a scammer. So, hopefully we’re trying to get it out there so we can get people say no to them,” Steven said.