Over the last month scam artists in London have been taking advantage of the kindness of strangers, tricking them into buying fake gold jewelry.

The stories of financial distress are all similar, used to reel in the Good Samaritans.

Edgar Lawson thought he was helping a stranger when he agreed to give a woman some cash in exchange for gold jewelry.

He says the woman told him it would help pay for her gas to drive back to the U.S., but he became suspicious when she kept pleading for more than she would need for the trip.

“I feel a little bit silly I got bitten but it wasn’t totally unexpected…I was getting really  firm with her, ‘No, I will not give you more money, I’m trying to help you out, this is more than enough money to get back to the States.’”

His suspicions were confirmed when, after the woman had left with his money, he got the gold appraised. It was fake.

Lawson says “A lot of people work very hard for very little money and so when somebody comes in looking for that free ride and taking advantage of your generosity, it is somewhat discouraging and it hurts a little bit.”

One local jewelry store tells CTV News that over the last month they’ve had about 10 people try to sell similar-looking gold rings or chains they said were recently purchased, and all were fake.

Jewelry dealers like Jay Johnston at Jay Johnston Jewellers says it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between real gold and a convincing fake.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen a rash of this type of activity in 35 years. Six times in the last three weeks, that’s an awful lot, and that’s just me…These people are really good at what they do.”

A test using Nitric Acid is the only way to tell if the stuff that looks real is actually fake, it turns the fake items green.

London police are advising the public to be cautious, and suggest getting an appraisal before agreeing to buy and not feeling guilty about declining an offer as there are other support options available.

They also say, though it may be embarrassing, incidents like these should be reported to police as the information can help in an investigation.