GEORGE TOWN: In the face of a global pandemic and slowed economy, people have become more desperate for cash, with some resorting to pawning fake goods.
Pawnshop worker Tan Choon Yinn, 36, said pawnbrokers have encountered quite a number of fraud cases.
“Some would bring fake jewellery, phones and watches and pass it off as genuine goods, ” she said at a pawnshop in Jelutong here.
“Others claimed they had real Rolex watches but after checking it thoroughly we rejected their claims.
“Some tried to pawn their mobile phones without informing us that their devices had unpaid telco bills for months. Some even brought fake receipts for their phones.
“These incidents happened many times over the past few months this year, so we are extra careful when accepting goods. This did not happen in the past.
“Times are bad and people are desperate. We have had people coming in to pawn old phones that are worth only RM50 to RM200, just to sustain themselves for a week or two, ” said Tan.
In some cases, people did not know that the items they wanted to pawn were fakes.
“One housewife came in to pawn her gold bracelet and was shocked to find out that it was a fake.
“She told us she had bought it earlier from a friend who sold it to her at a price lower than the market value. The friend had promised that she would get better returns when prices rose later, ” she said.
Tan said pawnbrokers were suffering.
“We have been sitting around empty counters for a few months. Not many people come in to pawn things.
“Those who do, mostly pawn their mobile phones because that is what they have left, while others come up with ways to pawn fake goods, ” she said.
At another pawnshop in Gelugor, a worker who wished to be known only as Victor, 30, said business had not been good for the past few months.
“Most people came here just to renew their pawn tickets. Of late, we have not had any new customers, ” he said.
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