BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Police are warning residents about a gold scam that has been reported in other parts of the country, but which is now happening here in Maryland.
Montgomery County Police Department reports they have a victim who lost $20,000 as part of this gold scam that is targeting those of Chinese descent.
Police say this is affinity fraud, which “relies on building trust with victims based on shared affiliations and characteristics such as age, race, religion, occupation, etc.”
As part of the scam, the suspects, who police say are Chinese and often work in groups, call the potential victim. The phone number appears as a Chinese number on caller ID.
The scammer tells the victim they need their help, and arranges to meet them.
During their meeting, the scammer is joined by another person, and they show the victim what they say is real gold, which they found while doing construction.
They say they want to sell the gold and use the money to return to China or help their family in China.
Montgomery County police have received two recent reports of this scam.
The first victim gave the suspects $20,000 in cash for gold that was later determined to be fake. 49-year-old Xiaoping Yang (also known as Ziaoping Yang) and 51-year-old Yinhui Huang have been charged with theft in this case, and were previously charged in Fairfax County for the same scam.
The second report came from a woman who had searched articles online, and determine this was a scam before giving them any money.