• State Patrol: Suspects selling fake gold on freeways

    By: Alison Grande

    Updated:

    Scammers are preying on your generosity as thieves pretend to be stranded on the side of the road. 

    This came to light back in May. But the scammers seem to be back at it.

    Another victim fell for the scam Thursday along the 272nd southbound off ramp.

    The driver was coming off of Interstate 5 when he saw a man who appeared desperate -- so desperate he offered to sell fake jewelry so he could get gas money.

    "He was kind of jumping around," the victim said. "He appeared to be in a lot of distress."

    He had a sob story, too.

    "The emphasis was that he lost his wallet," the victim said, "and all the documents. He's not able to even get any cash from the bank. And that he needs some gas. And if there anything I can do to help?"

    The man began removing his precious gold jewelry to sell for cash.

    "He was begging me," he said. "I thought he was going to fall to his knees next thing. I didn't want him to do that. So I figured I'll get rid of him. I'll give him the money. And worst case scenario, I'll learn my lesson. But unfortunately that's what happened."

    And not just to him. 

    "We've had it on 405, I-90, I-5," said Washington State Trooper Rick Johnson. He says it is happening all over the Puget Sound region. The scammers are almost always driving a rental car and they are likely not out of gas.

    "Number one, don't stop," Johnson said. "Call us when you're right alongside the road. And the troopers in this area are very familiar with this type of situation. And we'll get there as quickly as we can."

    What's curious is that both of the victims happen to be immigrants who speak English and Russian. So did the scammers, they said.

    This latest victim says he was out just $94. He gave the jewelry away.

    It turns out it is pure brass.


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