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.