Victim: Beware of gold scam in Schenectady

SCHENECTADY – You’re probably familiar with the old saying if something is too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Unfortunately, a well-meaning man who was offered what he thought was a golden opportunity Thursday night in a Schenectady parking lot, forgot all about that adage.

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By purchasing a fistful of what he believed to be 18-carat gold jewelry, Jeff Horn was thinking he made out like a bandit after dishing out only $700 to a sophisticated stranger on the street.

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“I look at the guy, he looks well-manicured, like a doctor, he’s got a very high-end car and I’m thinking that has got to be an innocent thing going on,” said Jeff Horn, of Schenectady.

Horn said the guy driving a white Mercedes SUV approached him in the Home Depot parking lot on Cambridge Road in Schenectady, told him he lost his wallet, and needed cash so that he could drive back to Chicago.

Horn agreed to get the cash from an ATM.

“As I was at the ATM, it dawned on me I really should be calling 911 because this could be a scam,” Horn stated, “You’d think I would have used my gut judgement a little bit better than I did.”

Moments after the Mercedes left the scene is when police showed up.

“I think any person who would be purchasing that type of product is taking a big risk with their own money and they should be very skeptical of that,” said Schenectady Police Sgt. Pete Montalto.

Unfortunately the full rush of skepticism didn’t ooze out until the transition was over.

“So after I get done with the police, I figure the first thing I need to do to make sure I’m not being scammed here is I have to go to one of those cash-for-gold stores and see what it is,” Horn explains, “I put it out on the counter and he goes, “that’s not gold.” He didn’t even have to look at it because it’s too shiny.”

Horn acknowledges he should have known better. He’s telling his tory so that no one else makes the same golden mistake.

“It was a scam,” he reiterates, “He intended it to be a scam. There was nothing legitimate about it and here I am holding the gold.”

Schenectady Police were searching for surveillance cameras in the area that might help their investigation.