Gem-A Issues Warning About Bizarre Jewelry Mail Scam
People in the U.K. and Europe have been unexpectedly receiving rings in the mail accompanied by fake Gem-A certificates.
The organization, which does not offer grading services or issue reports of any kind, said it is in no way involved with the packages.
People reported receiving a “diamond solitaire ring in platinum”—a claim that Gem-A said has not been verified via any laboratory testing, as far as it knows—in a gray or pink ring box, which arrived inside a pink gift bag with “Princess” in gold lettering.
Along with the ring is a laminated “Identification Certificate” allegedly from the “Fellowship of Gemological Association of Great Britain.” (The fake certificate contains a misspelling, as Gem-A uses the traditional British spelling of “gemmological” in its name.)
The fake certificate also includes the logos of the International Gemological Institute, the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation, Platinum Guild International, and the Gemological Institute of America.
Gem-A said according to reports, there are no identifying postage labels, receipts, confirmation letters or information documents inside the shipment.
Recent comments on a post about the mysterious packages on Gem-A’s Facebook page indicate that people randomly received the ring after trying to order books from an e-commerce site called Ahodenare.com.
“As an educator and membership organization, we don’t produce jewelry, nor do we provide any kind of grading or stone identification services. Although our members and those in the trade are undoubtedly aware of this, the public is less informed. We are monitoring the situation closely.”
Gem-A said it was alerted to a similar situation in March of this year after isolated incidents were reported on social media and email, but said the practice has “reared back into action,” affecting multiple parties.
It said recipients are from geographically diverse areas, including the United Kingdom and northern Europe.
Also in March, the American Gem Society published a warning to consumers notifying them of a scam involving people receiving unexpected packages with “low-quality jewelry” accompanied by a counterfeit laboratory report.
Some of the fake lab reports claimed the jewelry was graded by Gales Gemological Research Association (GRA) and was set with moissanite. Others were branded GIA and stated the stone contained in the jewelry was a diamond.
GIA said it received more than 50 calls regarding the packages from California, Texas, and other states over the course of three months.
The March incidents as well as the current one involving Gem-A could be examples of a brushing scam, which the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) defines as a “person receiv[ing] a package from a business containing various items that they never ordered.”
The aim is for the scammer to pose as a verified buyer of the product so they can post fake positive reviews of it online to boost their product’s rating and popularity.
The DOJ warns that packages are often addressed to the person’s residence but lack a return address, and it may mean that the recipient’s personal information has been leaked.
Gem-A said on Aug. 22 a police report has been filed and the investigation is ongoing.
“We have received no reports of follow-up requests from the sender(s) attempting to extort money or data from any of the recipients of these fraudulent parcels,” Hart said.
“However, we are asking everyone to be on high alert. We urge you not to share your personal or business details in this scenario and encourage you to seek advice before taking any next steps.”
Gem-A can be contacted at +44 0207 404 3334.
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