VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver man is out thousands of dollars after a jewelry scam in the city’s east side, prompting a warning from police that similar incidents could be on the rise as weather warms up and provincial health restrictions ease.

In a statement Tuesday, the Vancouver Police Department confirms a 61-year-old resident of the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood was ripped off on Monday afternoon.

Police say he was walking near Joyce Street and Vanness Avenue around 3 p.m. that day when a man and a woman in a white SUV approached him, claiming they needed money to feed their kids, and to buy a plane ticket home.

That’s when investigators allege the suspects traded him fake jewelry for $200 in cash, convinced him to take out thousands of dollars more from the bank, and even took him to a grocery store nearby, where he bought them hundreds of dollars in gift cards.

“It was only after the suspects were gone that the victim realized the jewelry was fake and that he’d been duped,” writes the Vancouver Police Department’s Sgt. Steve Addison.

Officers are investigating a similar incident from the same day, where a 51-year-old man was walking by himself near Commercial Drive and Napier Street.  Police say a man and woman called him over to a parked car, showed him jewelry and tried to sell it to him.

“Fortunately, this man recognized it was a scam, because he’d seen stories on the local news about similar thefts,” writes Addison. “He confronted the suspects and they fled in a grey hatchback with Manitoba license plates.”

Police suggest that anyone approached by would-be scammers should tell them to leave immediately, then call officers and give them a description of the suspects and their vehicles.