The Anchorage Police Department issued a warning about a jewelry scam that has been active in both Anchorage and Eagle River over the past two weeks.
Authorities detailed that the modus operandi involves individuals approaching citizens, asking them to buy their jewelry, claiming they need the money to return home.
The scammers have made allegations that they are unable to sell the jewelry themselves due to them being taken advantage of as foreigners at local stores. Those who fell for this scam have later discovered that the jewelry they purchased from the scammer is counterfeit upon attempting to resell it.
So far, roughly a dozen victims have been reported, with total losses amounting to thousands of dollars, police said.
Witnesses and victims described the suspects as well-dressed men and women. They are noted for appearing to be foreigners, distinguishable by both their attire and accent.
Several encounters have taken place in parking lots, while others have occurred when the suspects were seemingly stranded on the side of the road.
Kind-hearted citizens who stopped to help what they thought was someone with a broken-down vehicle, were then solicited to purchase the fake jewelry. Police reported that the suspects tend to switch vehicles every day or two.
Victims say that the suspects become verbally abusive when citizens decline their proposition.
The Anchorage Police urge anyone who has had an interaction with these individuals (regardless of whether a transaction took place) and has not yet informed the police, to immediately fill out a report at www.anchoragepolice.com.
APD strongly advised against engaging with these persons, but instead contact Police Dispatch at 3-1-1, option #1, or call 907-786-8900 and provide the suspect(s) current location so that a nearby officer can attend to the situation.
According to one person who saw the notification from police, a man of Middle Eastern descent approached her and her partner at the midtown Walmart and tried to sell them “18K gold” necklaces and a ring. He was driving a newer model white Toyota hybrid SUV crossover vehicle that he said was a rental. The man was described as “very pushy.”
Another person was approached at the Costco on Dimond Blvd. Yet another reported the scam going on in Kenai, while a fourth said she had been approached by this type of scammer in Soldotna while filling up at a gas station.