CASTRO VALLEY (CBS SF) – An elderly Castro Valley woman has become the latest victim of a con artist who sells phony gold bars, ostensibly to pay for medical care for a sick relative, authorities said Thursday.

The woman paid $7,000 for what turned out to be a brick that had been spray painted, said Sgt. J.D. Nelson, spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

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KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

Nelson said the same con man has victimized at least six people over the last two years, mainly in parking lots, but the most recent incident took place inside a store with a surveillance camera.

“It’s a pretty clear picture. Our hope is that somebody in the Bay Area knows this person and will come forward and tell us who he is,” Nelson said.

Police have released an image of the suspect, a clean cut man dressed in hospital scrubs who they believe may speak Spanish, and have an accomplice who also pretends to buy a gold bar in front of the victim in order to build trust.

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Investigators believe there are many more victims who are just too embarrassed to come forward.

The sheriff’s office said the scam is not unique to Alameda County and is being committed largely against the elderly in cities throughout the Bay Area and Southern California.

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.

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