Fake Silver and Gold Flood Global Markets

Whether it’s pirated software, poison-infused baby formula, cancer-causing drywall, luxury purses or fake medicines, if you need a knockoff, China has traditionally been the go-to country, with a counterfeiter always willing to oblige.

Now, with precious metals prices on the cusp of possibly the biggest price explosion in centuries, fake gold and silver products are becoming a booming industry say Global Piracy & Counterfeiting Consultants:

We have read about one Chinese counterfeiter openly bragging about producing 100,000 fake U.S. Silver Dollars per year, and that’s just one counterfeiter. At this point, we are telling all investors of gold, or silver coins and/or any type of precious metal bar to only buy from a reputable U.S. dealer, that has an established track record, and a money-back guarantee. We fear this Chinese counterfeit gold, or silver coins, or bars, could be a multibillion-dollar-a-year business, and we greatly fear many innocent investors could be taken to the cleaners…

Based on our research, some of the Chinese counterfeit coins are of such high quality, it is not uncommon for even experts to be deceived. We think its smart for every investor to have gold, or silver; our big worry is pretty simple: What if they invest 10% or 20% of their net worth in what are counterfeit precious metal coins that are basically worthless? We would call this a disaster for the investor, and our big fear is there are probably tens of thousands of investors in the United States who have been duped. Even worse, once again, for all intents and purposes, the U.S. federal government is a no-show — once again…”

The world needs to come to grips with the largest counterfeiter in the world, the fact that 10% of China’s GDP is a direct result of counterfeiting. If it’s not knockoff pharmaceuticals that can kill people, it’s high-tech smart phones, or electronics. Our new worry is pretty obvious related to Chinese counterfeiters bankrupting innocent precious metal or coin investors with what could be their life savings. At what point do consumers in the United States, Europe, Japan or the rest of the world say no thanks to any more Chinese products, given its uncaring attitude about flooding the global markets with counterfeits or fakes?”

Source: GPCC via prweb

Gold and silver remain one of the few alternative investment methods to preserve wealth during crisis scenarios like inflation or government instability, but taking extra precautions now is absolutely essential to ensuring your wealth is protected when it comes time to sell.

Don’t assume that the dealer you are working with is legitimate, and even if they are, it is possible that they themselves have been duped by a counterfeit.

Those investing in gold and silver assets, especially if you are committing a large percentage of your net worth, should consider some safeguards.

  • Work with multiple dealers who have been in business for several years. Like any investment strategy, diversifying your eggs into multiple baskets will protect you if one of them happens to fall. In this case, buying different products from multiple dealers, all with solid reputations, will prevent you from losing your entire investment in the event one of the dealers was duped by counterfeiters. While not exactly ideal, it’s better to lose just a portion of your investment than all of it
  • Trust, but verify. Buy from one dealer and get your investment appraised by another. If you’ve invested $5,000.00 into precious metals, paying an additional $100 to have another dealer (most will take a look for free) verify the quality of the assets you purchased is not a bad idea. If you were sold a fake, you can then take immediate action against the offending dealer (as opposed to waiting five years only to find out you’re holding a worthless metal)
  • Understand dimensions and weight. One of the best ways to determine if your asset is legitimate is to know what dimensions it should have (circumference, thickness, weight). Every government-issued coin, and even privately issued rounds or bars, should have manufacturer dimensions available either online or by simply giving them a call (otherwise go with a different product). Get a digital scale and a caliper and take measurements. Even though fakes can come close to the real thing, the densities of gold and silver are unique, so if a particular bar or coin shows an inaccurate weight or dimension, you’re likely looking at a fake. It may cost you a couple hundred dollars to acquire the appropriate tools, but if you’re investing multiple thousands of dollars into these investment, then we’d consider the cost of doing business. Take the time to learn about your investments (it won’t take long) and you can save headache and heartache down the road
  • Gold and Silver Acid Tests. Gold and silver have unique properties when mixed with certain chemicals. While not exactly ideal, because you’ll have to ‘damage’ a tiny portion of a particular bar or coin, an acid test can be one of the best tests to perform in order to ensure you have a legitimate precious metals product. You don’t necessarily have to go through and test every single one of your 1-ounce Silver Eagles, but testing a few coins out of each batch wouldn’t hurt.
  • Try pre-1965 silver products. They call it junk silver. Chris Duane of Don’t Tread On Me refers to it as Constitutional Silver. Half dollars, quarters and dimes minted prior to 1965 contain 90% silver and are worth well more than their face value. While Chinese counterfeiters may be producing silver eagles, bars and other mints in mass quantities, they will likely shy away from U.S. coin products for a couple of reasons: 1) Why mint a fake quarter when you can mint a fake Silver Eagle worth significantly more? 2) Minting fake U.S. coins is a federal crime, and while the Chinese may not be worried to much about being investigated by Secret Service, pressure from the U.S. may force China to act against counterfeiting, something the Chinese knockoff artists would like to avoid. Pre-1965 silver coins, in our opinion, are the only option for those making purchases on auction sites.

Counterfeits will always be a concern when you’re dealing with assets worth as much as $2,000 an ounce, but you can take steps to protect yourself. Don’t let the fact that counterfeits are out there dissuade you from making a good investment decision. Just do your due diligence and don’t let emotion overcome logic.


Mac Slavo

The Daily Reckoning