The Alameda County Sheriff's Office is warning residents to beware of a scam targeting the elderly in which the con artist claims to be raising money for a sick relative by selling gold bars.
According to the sheriff's office, the suspect approaches the victim and says his family needs money to care for a sick relative and that he is willing to sell the gold bars to pay for medical expenses.
The victims have withdrawn thousands of dollars each in exchange for the gold bars, which are counterfeit and worthless, according to the sheriff's office.
Investigators are working to identify at least one suspect who was captured on surveillance footage. He is described as clean cut and was dressed in hospital scrubs. However, the sheriff's office told KTVU news that he is a man with a heart made of anything but gold.
According to KTVU, the latest scam occurred in Castro Valley. Alameda County Sheriff's Department investigators told them that the suspect scammed an elderly woman for $7,000 in the parking lot of the shopping center.
KTVU adds that the same man may be using this fake gold bar scam in several other Bay Area cities including San Mateo, San Jose and Salinas. Those crimes have apparently led to hand over anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 at a time. It also commonly occurs in Southern California according to authorities.
Investigators said the scam is basically just spray painting a brick gold.
Anyone with information relative to the investigation is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Michael Carroll at (510) 667-3635 or Detective Robert Young at (510) 667-7925.
Callers wishing to remain anonymous can provide information by calling the office's tip line at (510) 667-3622.
Bay City News contributed to this report.