“Your lucky day”: the gold ring scam

So, there I am, walking up Chelsea Bridge Road towards Sloane Square. “Look at this!” says a man who has just passed me, “Look what I’ve just found!”

I turn round to see him picking something shiny off the pavement. My first thought was that it was a button off a Chelsea Pensioner’s tunic (we’re just by the Hospital) but then I see it’s a ring.

“Not mine” I say. “Not mine” says the man, “but look at it, it’s gold, look” and he presses it into my hand. “Look, gold” he says again, pointing to a hallmark (although it isn’t a proper hallmark, just two little stamps), “you have it. Your lucky day.”

I don’t want a gold ring that isn’t mine. It means I’m going to have to find a police station and hand the damn thing in, so I try to give it back.

“No, no. You have it. Your lucky day. Your lucky day.”

So I turn to go. Two steps later..
“Your lucky day…so can you give me some money for cigarettes? For food?”

And the penny drops, it’s a scam of some sort. “No, no,” I say, “Your lucky day.” and I put the ring into his hand.

I don’t know what would have happened next; if I’d given him a quid, would I have been hassled for more (“A pound? You’ve got a gold ring!”)?; would someone have come and claimed the ring (although it was almost certainly worthless)?

This is apparently a well-known and long-standing scam in Paris, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it in London. Let’s see if it’s a one-off, or whether we all get familiar with it over the next few years…

42 Replies to ““Your lucky day”: the gold ring scam”

  1. Just had a guy do the same thing to me on hereford road near notting hill. First impression was it was a pipe washer! Had a look online and police say they arrested and released without charge a 19 year old romanian man! Very possibly could be the same guy! Looks like a lake of conviction really worked here! Nice softly softly approach! Genius!

  2. this happened to me in Chiswick around May 26th Turnham Green middleaged east european man. Same script I said I would take it the police station!!

  3. This happened to me just outside Euston on Friday 15/06/2012. Chap claimed to be Polish. I told him to sell the ring, but was told “no papers, no papers”. I should have chucked it instead of giving it back to him. At least then he would not have been able to do it to anyone else.

  4. Yep, I have to admit that exactly same thing happened to me outside St. Pancras station only last week, and I fell for it hook, line and sinker! Stupid really, but I was caught off guard and the “good luck for me, good luck for you” story seemed plausible at the time. If I saw the guy again I would have to shake his hand and congratulate him. His genius pantomime act earned him his twenty quid!

  5. Same happened to me yesterday, 19 June 2012. It was a woman who came up to me doing the same thing top of Gower Street. I told her to do with it whatever she needed to do but said “no documentation”.

  6. It happened to me in Swiss Cottage last Saturday 30 June 2012. I managed to dismiss him by refusing to do as he asked and then telling him to go to the police, plus a gentleman across the street shouted out to ask if I was OK (I am elderly!).

  7. Just happened to me right outside the Royal Free Hospital this old foreigner … can’t speak English bends down and picked up somthing shiney and says to me it is gold… cafe cafe ….wasn’t too pleased when i said i was going to security to hand it in and you must come with me just kept repeating cafe…

  8. This happened to my dad at marble arch. The man picked up the ring in front of him and said ‘this must be my lucky day’. He then offers the ring to my dad for some money in which he lucky only gave £3. The guy then made some small talk about getting a job in which my dad gave him advice but then said ‘no papers, no papers’.

  9. Ha! I got scammed in exactly the same way. Was in Kensington waiting to put another destination in my satnav when a young guy bent down by my drivers door. When he came back up he smiled through the window and said, “Did you drop this?” and pointed to a shiny ring. He tried it on and it didn’t fit. He then walked up to a nearby house as if to enquire there but changed his mind. He walked back to me, tossed me the ring with , “It’s your lucky day” (clearly!) and wandered off. He walked about 30 yards away then returned asking if he could have something ‘for his troubles’ I offered him a banana! He was implying for cash for food. Typically I only had £20! As he wandered off he thanked me for the contribution for his FOOD and then I realised that something was not right. I searched google when I got in and then found this. How I laughed! Got me fair and square 🙂

  10. Manchester Square for me. Only a handful of coins, no more than 3 quid. In the moment, very plausible, but seconds later I was heading back to my desk to google “gold ring scam”. I’m going to keep it in my pocket to remind myself that if something seems to good to be true, it probably is. Taught me a bit of a life lesson

  11. 20/09/12

    Same thing just happened to me on Gloucester Place (behind Baker Street). Should have known it was too good to be true…

    The creep kissed me on the cheek as well. I feel violated.


  12. I had the same scam tried on me this morning in Lordship Lane Wood Green outside the Crown Court. I told him I had no money so he got angry and tried to get it back out of my clenched fist. I shoved him in the chest so he went reeling backwards, I then told him to clear off. He decided I was probably a handful and walked off swearing. Anyone want to buy a genuine ‘hallmarked’ brass pipe ring?! Genuine reason for sale!

  13. It happened to me on Oxford St last week and it was a woman. I had been looking down anyway and was surpised when she reached down and ‘found’ a gold ring with two stamps. She offered it to me and I declined. I too wonder what would hae happened if I ahd accepted it.

  14. Anonymous 11th October 2012

    The same thing happened to me just near Paddington Station and I fell for it hook line and sinker and gave her £10. I feel such an idiot, but they take you by surprise and are very plausible. I just hope more people are made aware of this scam.

  15. It happened to me last week at Swiss Cottage. I ended up giving the guy, who claimed to be Polish, 6 GBP. The guy acted as if he just stumbled on it and he tried it on his finger and said it didn’t fit, and he offered me to have it. He then walked away. He came after me after about 20 seconds and asked if I could give him money for coffee. He wanted 10 quid but I told him he could have 6 for the ring. I was quickly debating in my head whether or not to give him the money, thinking that it’s probably a scam but I decided to take the chance. This guy looked reasonable, claimed to be Polish, had an accent and red hair.

  16. My they have been busy! Happened to me in Northchurch Rd, Islington last week. I gave him a couple of quid for a coffee. Figure he earned it and I had a trinket for the kids to play with…
    He didn’t look to pleased but I was getting in my car and took off quickly. Quite convincing ring actually with two fake hallmarks. You can smell the brass/copper if you rub it though.

  17. It happened to me in Hanwell on my way to work and I had not heard of this scam before.

    A middle aged east europen guy walked towards me and bent down just in front of me and said “look what I found” and he thrust it into my hand and said “it is gold you have, you keep” when I said no thanks he became quite aggressive to me (a slightly built middle aged woman) and as there was nobody around I felt unsafe and intimidated so I gave him some money to go away and as I walked away he demanded more so I got angry and said “well have it back”, he got angy and came towards me but luckily some people came along the road and he walked off. I felt shakey and sick afterwards now I just walk away from anyone who approaches me!

  18. I think we should all think about this. I too was scammed. Today. Seven months after the first post and years after the first court case.

    It happened to me in Kensington – He was reasonably well presented, accented, genuine type, 50sh. By the end of it I knew it was a scam or stolen property – wasn’t quite sure which. But felt sorry for him.

    He was good, very good and I told the man I would take the ring but that I would take it to the police as it was probably valuable and/or of sentimental value – not a blink from him. Gave him £10 anyway despite realising that he wouldn’t have asked for money if it wasn’t a scam.

    I then approached a policeman at the High Street Kensington railway station – he advised me he couldn’t take property nor file a report (new regulations/laws) I would have to go to the Police station or find a policeman on the street – which meant taking time to look for a policeman (I was already late), or time off work and go to a police station and fill in their paperwork – I thought – well it’s worth it if it was real and to return to its rightful owner or, maybe, get the ring back with a clear conscience, but if it was a scam not worth the effort and another lesson learnt.

    At lunchtime I decided to see if the ring was gold before taking time off work to report it and guess what…?

    Not only was the ring NOT gold (although it was a very realistic copy with hallmark) but the jeweller (miles away) had 3 rings identical to the one I had which had been bought in THAT DAY – that’s three rings in 4 hours and in just in one store.

    So whilst we all might be short a £10 or so, and quietly impressed with the ability of this man/men to con those of us who feel they are half way intelligent, and to be honest if the guys that desperate it’s almost worth it, spare a thought for the people who bought in the rings to the jeweller in London – one had paid over a £100 for it! Greedy yes, but times are tough and I won’t judge. It’s hard to say no to a gift – even if we know there’s always a catch.

    So please everyone do make it known to your local police – this is getting a little serious now.

  19. Happened to me today in Oxford Street, man in his 30’s said just happened to find it on ground in front of me, I was on the phone, didn’t stop him badgering me!I refused and kept talking on the phone, he came back and insisted I have it, then he asked for money for food.. gave him 50p.

  20. My partner had it happen to her this evening (18th Feb 2013) on Theobalds Road Holborn. She thought the guy was Polish, late 50s / 60. He actually slipped it on to her finger but she took it off immediately and said No it’s your lucky day. He then asked for money but she walked away.

  21. Just happened to me near Portobello Road, middle aged (slightly scruffy) man, picked up what appeared to be a gold ring and casually offered it to me! I said ‘No thanks’ and he pocketed it and wandered off. Hmmm! Thought it seemed like a scam and have just checked and found that it is!!

  22. They say if its too good to be true it probably is… Fancied our luck though didnt we. Got it at Marble Arch, Lady though, old foreign lady.

  23. This scam happened to me nr Waterloo road (26th Feb 2013) at 10:05 hours. Two women (Foreign) within less then 2 mins apart picked up ‘Gold Rings’ Asking me was this my ring? In which I said no! And walked off. Had a lucky escape! Not my thing Gold Rings!!!!

  24. Yep – with me it was on Knightsbridge! Eastern European lady in her 50’s tried to give me the ring. I told her she would need to hand it in to a police station, and politely declined her request for food money (to be honest, she looked as though a slimming diet might not be a bad idea!) I’d half forgotten about it until I checked up ‘gold ring scam’ online, to see if this was widespread.

    Actually, the scam will only really work as a scam (as opposed to the mark just giving out of generosity) if the recipient is slightly morally dubious in the first place.

    1. It happened to me yesterday near Marylebone Lane in London. I am not morally dubious and genuinely intended to hand the ring into a police station, when two kind passers by warned me that it was a scam. I did not pay the woman any money and felt quite shaken by the incident.

  25. This happened to me too, but I actually bought the ring from a dealer at Kempton Park Antiques Fair….. It was towards the end of the afternoon and I was buying a Zenith Silver Mantle Clock from a dealer when he asked would I like to buy a 15 gram 18ct gold ring for £200. I checked the web on my phone to find out the value, it worked at around £290 in scrap value, so stupidly I bought it, it was in a box and was hallmarked, it had a price tag on it and was in a jewellery case with lots of other expensive jewellery…
    The guy was ENGLISH and clearly (looking back on it) knew what he was doing, the shifty bas***d… I shall be going back there next Tuesday to see if he is there and if he is, I shall simply ask to look at something I know is gold, such as a sovereign ring etc, I shall ask to look at it and when he passes it to me, I shall put it on and hand him the fake gold ring back as payment for the fake ring and should he say anything, I shall explain to him that he sold me the ring for £200 2 weeks ago.
    I am sure he will remember me, as he will remember the clock for sure!

    He is for it! Scamming git! – I felt such a fool after taking it to the pawn shop to sell it, they first weighed it, told me its value and then tested it, which is when it went green!

    I will get my money back THAT IS FOR SURE!


  26. A polish man stooped down in my path today as I walked up Weymouth Street, W1 just near Harley Street. He picked up a brassy looking ring, like a broad wedding ring and claimed he’d just found it. He then said “you have it, your lucky day”, but then asked for money “for food”. I said no and gave him the ring back and walked off. He continued to call after me for some time.

  27. Just got home – happened to me (and my husband) just walking off of Oxford Street into a side road to get a coffee – we were late for an appointment though so just ignored him – he looked a little shocked, as we didnt acknowledge him – even though he was flashing this shiny ring in front of me.

    I just said “not mine” and walked on.

  28. It happen to me as well I was approach by a lady in her 50’s at Devonshire Street who can hardly speak english. Same thing I refused to accept it and tell her to hand it over to the police.

  29. Yesterday on Park St, eastern european in woolly hat 50something and I saw the gold ring! He picked it up, Gold I said!!! Your lucky day! He put it on his finger, didn’t fit, so he put it on mine. Your lucky day he said. I went into no 47, which probably didn’t fit with his plan, so he doubled back asking for money – gave him £1, but he wanted more so gave him back is ring and retrieved my £1.00!!

  30. This was about to happen to me coming out of the alleyway onto Dover Street (I noticed he was following me from Berkeley Street, Piccadilly side) he crossed the road ahead of me and doubled back to walk towards me and bending down in front of me pretending to pick up the ring). I continued walking, ignoring all attempts to engage in conversation about the ring.

    So why am I telling you this? Because I also observed these same people last week on a side road by Piccadilly circus, they were a group of four discussing what looked like the contents of a purse which they later through on the floor. Possible pick pockets / possible distraction scam.

    I believe this might warrant a warning to family members and friends alike to be wary of such scams close to home.

    Further Reading:

  31. Anonymous
    Yes it happened to me on Fulham Palace Rd. on saturday 26th. January. At first I believed her as she bent down and picked up this very heavy ring which I thought was gold and said it was my lucky day I said its not mine but she put it in my hand and she started to walk away and then came back and was wanting something so I handed the ring back to her and carried on walking.

  32. Happened to me a few months ago while walking along Kingsway. Eastern European woman in her fifties offered me a ring she’d found on the pavement. Obviously dubious. Why would you want someone else’s ring? Told her to take it to the police and walked on.

  33. Yes the same thing happened to me in Marble Arch yesterday. A heavyset woman walking towards me bent down and picked up a man’s ‘gold ring’. She stopped me and proceeded to show me the hallmark informing me she couldn’t keep it as she didn’t wear jewelry because of her religion. She then put the ‘ring’ in my hand. I said I didn’t want it but would drop it off at a police station. As I went to walk away she said money money please give me money for good luck. I also need food. Another woman was walking by at the time and warned me not to give the woman anything at all. She became very upset indeed. I finally opened my purse and all I had was a £10 and £5 note. She was eyeing the £10 but I gave her the £5. She shook my hand and headed off.
    I rang my son when I got home. He had a similar experience in a car park in Hammersmith recently. Lesson learnt!!

  34. My mum scammed today. Older chap, foreign, handed her the ring. She , out of kindness, gave him 20 quid. But I am shocked how clueless she was and how I would have been. I think these should be fashionable in a few years. An investment! PMA?

  35. Happened to me outside St Pancras a few weeks ago. Thought nothing of it, but was talking to a mate in the pub today and he told me about it happening to him in Paris. Cheeky sods!!!

  36. Happened to me in Euston Road. Fortunately only had £2 on me, but he asked for more. I left a note in a nearby pub to contact me if anyone had lost a ring. I felt so guilty that I had denied a homeless man of the value of the ring that after a week I donated a considerable amount to a genuine homeless charity. So some good came out of it.

  37. This happened to me today, except I told the man I had no money after he had given me the ring, he then said “I’ll have the ring back then” I said no, it’s mine now and carried on walking, he wasn’t happy but he didn’t get the ring back, or any money. I don’t care if it’s fake, at least he’s a ring down now!

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