LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A Lake Area jeweler said he’s seen an increase in fake gold used as a ploy to scam people, swindling them out of hundreds of dollars.
“I don’t know if it has any value at all," Randy Jones, Diamond Durrell’s manager said. "I’m sure it sells for maybe 25, 50 dollars. An actual chain like this? Two or three thousand dollars.”
Fake gold, even marked with an authentic looking 14k stamp, has been sold to several in Southwest Louisiana, according to Jones.
“They would see people at a gas station saying they needed money for gas to get home or were in the casino and they just needed money; they had just lost their money and needed to get home," Jones said. "People would give them a couple hundred dollars, maybe more or sometimes less—depending on what they had with them—but they would just take what they could and just gave them the fake jewelry.”
He’s seen almost a dozen people in the last few months come in trying to see how much a necklace or ring is worth, only to find out it’s fake and they’ve been scammed.
“They could have lost from $100 to $500 each, and that’s just the people I’ve seen," Jones said. "No telling how many people have been taking it that we don’t know about.”
Here are a few ways to tell if it’s real gold or not according to Jones:
“You can see the color difference," Jones said. "A lot of the imitation, fake gold is plated with a very bright yellow color; although some 14-karat plated gold is plated by the manufacturer that way, but the weight is different also. On a chain like this, normally it’s very heavy and it’s a little lighter than it should be.”
Another way to check is to use an electric gold tester. Jones says if they put the piece of gold jewelry up to the electric tester, if it’s real gold, it will fall in the green category. If it’s fake, the meter will go to red.
Jones’ advice to those looking to purchase gold jewelry: Buy it from a reputable source and don’t fall for the creative stories of scammers.