People should be on the lookout for an individual who might try to scam them with fake gold.
According to David Gately, who owns La Grande Gold and Silver with his father, someone has been selling rings that are made to look like gold to people at gas stations and in
Gately said he believes it is the same person doing this around Northeast Oregon, including in Pendleton, Baker City and La Grande. He said those who have been scammed give the same description: a man of average height who appears to be of Middle Eastern or Indian descent.
He is selling large square rings with 18k stamped on the inside of the band, out of a silver BMW SUV, often claiming he lost his wallet and needs money for gas.
The rings have designs carved into the top and are about the size of class rings. According to Gately, if the rings were real gold, they would be worth more than the $50 to $100 dollars this man sells them for.
“It’s almost always that same type of ring, stamped with an 18k, but it’s not 18 karats,” Gately said.
The rings this man is selling are not made of real gold. When people bring the rings in to La Grande Gold and Silver to sell, Gately tests them with nitric acid, which will eat through the metal if it’s not real gold.
“It’s hard to tell without training,” Gately said. “(The rings) are heavy like gold, but not quite heavy enough.”
Gately first saw the scam in 2018. There were only around five or six people that year who came into the store with the fake rings to sell. This year, there have been 20 people who have come in hoping to make back the money they gave the man.
There has also been an instance at Baker City Gold and Silver where someone was scammed under the same circumstances in the past few months, according to the store’s owner.
“He’s taking money from people who don’t really have it to give,” Gately said.
The La Grande police have told Gately there is nothing they can do unless someone who has been scammed chooses to press charges. Police said they do have one report on file but not enough information to pursue an investigation.
Gately said he has not seen the man in person, except for a possible visit a year ago when a man fitting the description came in to sell multiple fake gold rings, but he took them back when told they were not real.