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How To Detect Fake Gold Bars And Counterfeit Gold Coins

Scrabble tiles spelling out the word "scam"

Precious metals such as gold are excellent investments that only rise in value with time. Perhaps their intrinsic value as an asset evokes many online scammers to create counterfeit bars and coins to sell to willing buyers for much less money than their spot price. While the buyer thinks they cut a good deal, they end up losing money when the metals are detected as fake.  

While scamming methods have evolved with recent technology and have increased counterfeits, there are still ways to avoid buying fake gold. This blog will serve as a guide for buyers looking to buy from reliable gold investment dealers.

How Do Scammers Make Counterfeits?

Before we discuss how to avoid falling prey to a gold scam, we will go into how fake gold bars and coins are made.

Imitative Alloys

Scams using tungsten in the core of a gold bar are some of the most effective ways scammers trick buyers. The method involves using real gold plating on tops of a tungsten core to make a bar that gives the impression of more gold than is there. Since the bar has real gold plated on it, it often passes some chemical and mechanical detection tests like treatment with acids or weighing the bar. As a non-magnetic material, tungsten also imitates the lack of attraction to magnets of gold.

Fake Stamps And Serial Numbers

Gold bars with engravings.

With increasing awareness of gold scams, authorized distributors have started to put barcodes on their gold products and laser-detecting images to distinguish them from fake ones. Buying gold coins online from unofficial distributors often leads to scams that do not allow for authenticity checkers and use fake engravings to imitate real products.

How To Detect Counterfeits

To avoid losing money on gold scams, the following practices can help you detect real gold from counterfeits.

Weigh The Bullions

While not universally effective,  as in the case of tungsten cores, this method can help give away sloppy counterfeits. Known precious metal exchanges make the information on the weights and dimensions of their gold products publicly available. When you buy a supposed official mint product, inspect it for weight. Note that weighing gold is very sensitive, and household weighing machines aren’t suitable for this. For ideal measurement, consult a professional.

An equal arm weighing scale.

Check For Authenticity Markers

Established distributors such as Produits Artistiques Métaux Précieux (PAMP) bullion providers have serial codes that can be detected through a VeriScan application easily available online. Since the service is new, it can only detect gold bars that were made after its arrival, but it is still a good way of vetting suppliers.

Another giveaway of scams is the huge deviations from the metal’s spot pricing. The spot pricing for gold fluctuates but does not deviate too much from the average value. Scammers tend to entice willing buyers by selling counterfeits on third-party websites at lower prices that seem like good deals.

 Gold is easily exchangeable for cash at banks and precious metal exchange companies. Why would someone with real gold choose to sell it at a lower price? When you go to buy gold, check the official spot pricing and build your expectations accordingly.

Buy From Established Distributors

The most effective way to avoid scams is to buy from reliable and established precious metals investment dealers. Reputable dealers have years of experience in gold exchange and a loyal customer base to account for their services. The value of their products matches the spot pricing of gold, and the density and dimensions of the products are disclosed transparently.  

Three gold bars with identifiers on them.

We are a gold and silver investment company that offers authentic gold, silver, platinum, and palladium products and is rated as one of the top gold investment companies by customers. We guarantee a holistic sales journey to our clients where we help them buy, store and sell their precious metals in line with market trends. All our products are displayed with transparent pricing and weight to avoid counterfeits. If you are looking for investing in precious metals, you can get in touch with us here.

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