STOCKTON -- The California Highway Patrol is warning people about a scam that usually starts when a good Samaritan is flagged down by what appears to be a well-dressed family in a broken-down luxury car.
They tell an elaborate story about why they need money for gas -- but they don't just ask for a handout. The scam artists offer the jewelry around their necks for that gas money.
"Most of the time it's always that sob story," said David Delgado. "It's always that, 'I need help and I'm vulnerable. So right now I have to give this up, even though I don't want to.'"
Delgado at Stockton Loan and Jewelry is very familiar with the scam because many of the victims come into the Pacific Avenue shop hoping the sell the jewelry.
"Sometimes we have six, seven in one day," he explained.
The shop keeps a sample on hand that one victim left behind after learning it was worthless.
"The worst case I've seen is someone gave them $600," Delgado told FOX40.
Their X-ray gold detector doesn't lie. The results are further confirmed by an acid test.
The CHP released a bulletin Wednesday warning people about the scam. Many of the recent incidents have happened in the San Joaquin Valley.
Investigators say the suspects were using rental cars. They speak with thick accents and often work in groups. They may also be offering fake Rolex watches.
"They're really appealing to the good nature in people," Delgado said. "It's unfortunate, but that's what they're doing."
"They got my son for like $200 and they got my daughter for the same, for like $200," one victim told FOX40.
The victim, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the suspects appeared professional and were very convincing.
"And we're thinking it's real, because it looks real, and it wasn't real," she said.
Delgado doesn't want people to judge the victims.
"She's a customer. She's been a customer here a long time, so she knows her gold," Delgado said. "And even her, that she thinks she knows her gold, is getting fooled by this gold. It looks very well. Just don't buy gold on the street."