A scam known as the Chinese gold or buried treasure scam has been occurring throughout the world since 2010, and has previously appeared in the Lower Mainland. However, United States authorities have warned Richmond RCMP that the scam has been recently reported in the U.S.
In an effort to prevent the scam from targeting more victims, Richmond RCMP issued a warning to citizens today (November 7) about it.
When the scam had previously been reported in the Lower Mainland, Richmond RCMP conducted two successful investigations in 2015 and 2017, which helped law enforcement agencies elsewhere in the world as well.
In this scheme, scammers, who primarily target Mandarin speakers, will contact potential victims during a visit in person or by phone.
In the past, some scammers visit Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners with a claim of being ill due to stress after discovering a will or letter that indicates a quantity of gold at a construction site.
Other scammers target random people believed to be financially established after research on social media, media, or advertising.
A fraudster may introduce himself as a construction worker with no legal status in the country who has unearthed some buried treasure. The treasure container is portrayed as having a large number of gold ingots or solid gold Buddha statues with a handwritten note.
The scammer will ask the victim for assistance and offer to sell them some of the gold for a fraction of market-pricing.
The suspect will schedule a meeting for the victim to inspect the gold to authenticate it. One or two other people involved in the scam will attend the meeting as well.
At the meeting, one of the suspects will saw a piece off from one of the gold ingots, switch it with a piece of real gold, and provide the real gold piece to the victim.
When the victim has the piece analyzed independently, it will be authenticated to be real, high-purity gold.
The suspects will arrange for the victim to purchase the gold for cash, and the scammers will flee the region or country after the payment is made.
The scam may have some variations but generally involves props such as an ancient letter or will, gold ingots, or gold Buddha statues.
Anyone who may be a victim of this scam should contact local police.