08/23/2013 01:33 EDT | Updated 10/23/2013 05:12 EDT

Seniors targeted by jewelry thieves

Vancouver police are warning the public after seniors have been targeted by thieves posing as jewelry sellers.

Police say the thieves approach a potential victim who is wearing gold earrings, necklaces, bracelets or rings, and overwhelms him or her by talking and placing fake jewelry or a scarf on the victim's head, neck or wrist.

The thief then removes the victim's jewelry, leaving behind the fake jewelry or scarf in its place.

The victims, who have become disoriented and confused, don't know they've been scammed until they notice their jewelry is missing.

The suspects are described as both men and women of varying age, with medium to dark skin. The women often wear flowing dresses and scarves. On a number of occasions, the thief has left in a waiting car.

Police have released the following tips:

- If you wear jewelry in public, conceal valuable items under your clothing.

- Don’t allow anyone you don’t know into your personal space.

- Clearly tell the person that you are not interested, and ask them to leave you alone.

- Draw attention to the situation by calling for help.

- Call 911 and report the crime to police.