A new string of gold buying scams is being reported around the country. We heard about the news from clients in Maryland, which is practically in our backyard. Obviously, we don’t want our friends in the jewelry or pawnbroker fields to fall victim to something that could potentially cost them a lot of money, so we're spreading the word.
According to reports, the scammers have been successful – not because of the quality of their counterfeits – but because of psychology. Maryland’s Montgomery County Police say that the scammers are targeting those of Chinese descent by “building trust with victims based on shared affiliations and characteristics such as age, race, religion, occupation, etc.” – a strategy known as “affinity fraud.”
Scammers cold call potential victims using a phone number appears as a Chinese number on caller ID. The scammer tells the victim they need their help - saying they want to sell gold they found during a construction job and use the money to return to China, or help their family in China. Victims who agree to meet the scammers and buy the “gold” have lost up to $20,000 in cash.
As time goes on, the scammers are likely to change their stories and target different victims. Luckily, there are many ways to spot a scam. When buying or selling precious metals, remember to always be careful and do your research.
Not many people realize it, but platinum is pervasive in modern society. Without it, engineering and technology would be set back by 100 years. You may be wondering, “if platinum is so rare and expensive, how can it make everyday life possible?” The answer is because most of platinum’s use comes from the compounds derived from it – so only very small amounts of platinum are used up. Let’s take a look at some technologies that require platinum catalysts and compounds.
Silicones Specialized types of silicone are used in countless manufacturing applications. In order to impart certain properties to silicone (i.e. texture, adhesion, malleability, etc.) platinum compounds are added to the silicone mixture to catalyze the curing process, resulting in silicone with the desired properties.
Fuel Platinum is an essential catalyst in the production of gasoline. Small pellets are coated with a micro-thin layer of platinum. Through a process known as catalytic reforming, the pellets unlock the higher octane components of crude oil – which are used to create gasoline and other petrochemical products, like plastic.
Medicine When converted into certain chemical forms, platinum can cause living cells to stop dividing. The cells continue to grow, but they never divide or reproduce. This novel property has led to the development of platinum-based antineoplastic drugs that are useful for treating cancers and tumors.
In our next blog post, we’ll go over even more uses for platinum by focusing on applications that use whole platinum, rather than its compounds.
The value of silver futures briefly plunged nearly 10% late last week after more than 25 million ounces were traded within a minute during a lull in market activity. This news comes on the heels of a flash crash in gold prices on June 26, which also occurred under similar circumstances.
Like gold's recent flash crash, silver's price fluctuations are being attributed to an erroneous trading order. Just after 7 a.m. in Singapore last Friday (when Asian trading just barely started), more than 25 million ounces of silver futures were traded within a minute – temporarily flooding the market and driving prices down. The Wall Street Journal reported that silver fell from just over $16 per troy ounce to around $14.30 in moments before just as quickly bouncing back to $15.80.
There have been numerous instances in recent years of asset trading orders being entered for an incorrect price, resulting in subsequent trades reacting to that incorrect entry. The end result is typically a brief, but sharp, change in asset value colloquially known as a "flash crash." If you want to be alerted to these kinds of price swings as they happen, don’t forget that you can use our Precious Metals Prices app to receive alerts via email or push notifications on your phone.