Local jewelry store Fire and Ice has seen around 50 people come in over the past year with fake jewelry – hoping to sell it or have it appraised – but all were the unknowing victims of a scam.

All of these people have a similar story, said store owner Ryan Eberts. They were approached by someone claiming to need money and offering to sell supposedly real gold jewelry in exchange for cash.

Thinking they’d snagged a great deal, some bought the jewelry, paying anywhere from $50 to $2,000 for the pieces, he said. The sellers often targeted people in store parking lots or at gas stations.

“The chains are always more of a curb style chain. The rings are a gentleman’s signet style ring. Usually it has like a little eagle on it or some sort of designer pattern on it,” he said.

When these pieces were brought to Eberts, he quickly realized the jewelry was fake. He broke the news to the buyers that they had been scammed.

“Nobody’s ever happy. Everybody’s super disappointed, but a lot of people are so embarrassed that they purchased it,” he said.

Eberts hopes those who were scammed reported it to the police, but the Regina Police Service (RPS) said scams like this often go under-reported.

“Sometimes people don’t report out of embarrassment. It happens a lot with scams, especially involving say an elderly person, who doesn’t want to look foolish,” said Elizabeth Popowich, spokesperson for the RPS.

Police investigate these types of incidents as fraud, but it can be difficult to locate the suspect. Typically a suspect description is all police have to go off of, and many victims only realize they’ve been scammed weeks later, long after the suspect has disappeared.

Scam prevention is the best method, said Popowich.

“You have to stop and ask yourself, ‘Why is this person selling what they’re saying is valuable gold jewelry to me?’ If they’re really that hard up for money, why don’t they simply go to someone who buys gold, a jewelry store or some other place that would buy gold?” she said.

“If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.”