There are so many people out there attempting to scam honest people out of their hard earned money. I run a group where investors and collectors can chat and exchange ideas, so it did surprise me to learn that one of my members had fallen for this type of scam. Don’t be the next victim!
Some of the main gold scams are:
1) The most common is sellers asking you to pay upfront costs for shipping of your gold. Shipping is expensive and this can be many thousands of dollars. You will most likely receive your shipment, but don’t expect to find much gold in it. Sand is the normal substitute.
2) Asking for a plane ticket to escort the gold directly to you or for an agent to do so. It doesn’t really matter what is being asked for, if you pay up front don’t expect to hear from the scammer again. A thousand dollars may not be much for you, but most gold comes from countries where a thousand dollars goes a long way.
3) Asking for a letter of introduction to business. This is often asked for if a seller wishes to escort the gold product and needs a letter for customs. Basically they are using your company to support their visa application, so unless you want to be dragged into a case for illegal immigration, do NOT send the letter. Anyone with a reasonable amount of gold to sell can get a visa or ship it.
4) Larger deals will ask you to send proof that you are able to complete the transaction. This is normally names of buyers, proof of funds, passport copies etc. Do NOT send anything to anyone who you aren’t 100% sure of. These proofs are then used to run scams in your name, especially passports! With proof of funds and other legal documents these can be used for blackmail or scams, once someone knows you have a lot of money you have painted a target on yourself.
5) More detailed scams will have enough proof within them to get past the preliminary checks, but will ask for a buyer to create a payment or financial instrument; something in the form of a bank MT103, SBLC, BG or escrowed funds. These funds are not to be paid out until completion of the deal, giving the buyer security. Unfortunately these can be monetized or used as proof of funds to then go out and purchase gold to sell to the buyer. A rapidly growing scam. This can even be done with an MT799 which is only a swift message of proof of funds between banks, but can be used to flip a deal once the scammer has proof of a willing buyer with funds.
6) Fake Documentation! With so many gold offers around scammers reuse documentation photo shopping signatures from one to another. This one is hard to detect unless you’re trained in this area. Use extreme caution.
7) The inheritance scam seems to becoming more popular. Example: My father died and left me 27 kilos and I just need so many dollars to release it. These are often backed up by equally corrupt lawyers or advocates in Africa. A variation on this theme is the girlfriend or boyfriend befriending you and then promising to come visit / marry and just needs a few thousand dollars to release gold to sell to cover their trip. There are many variations on the scams listed and of course everyone will claim that they are the real thing and have had problems with fake buyers before and don’t want to get caught again.
FOR THE SELLERS: Don’t get me wrong there are as high a percentage of fake buyers out there as fake sellers, it’s hard on both sides. Buyers using trumped up companies and documents pretending to be large multi-billion dollar conglomerates. The truth is that it’s a dealer looking to flip the deal using his range of contacts in social networking sites like Linkedin and Facebook.
The ways to avoid this are to thoroughly do your research on the buyer, ignore anything on a social network site. Check the incorporation date of the company, size, website, directors, previous dealings in the industry, etc.
The main lessons are not to put any money up front and not to send documentation out to someone you don’t know. The ONLY way is to meet face to face and do it yourself, but it’s clearly risky!
Goldwiser is located at 24910 Kuykendahl Rd., Tomball, TX 77375. I am available Monday through Saturday 10am to 7pm. Doing business with a local vendor should always be the preferred method! Have questions? Call me at 832-943-7300 and just ask for Gina!