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Don't Be a Victim of Gold and Silver Scams!

April 1, 2024

An elderly woman in Maryland lost nearly $800,000 in a gold scam. 

The incident underscores the importance of using caution when buying, selling, and handling gold and silver.

Montgomery County Detective Sean Petty told NBC4 that the woman was taken by a “well-crafted scam.”

The rip-off started when the victim received a phone call from a man claiming to be a federal investigator. He told her that buying gold would help protect her from identity thieves. 

The 64-year-old woman proceeded to wire $789,000 to a gold bullion company to purchase gold bars.

So far, so good. There’s nothing wrong with buying gold bars. While it might not protect you from identity thieves, it will protect you from the government stealing your wealth with constant currency devaluation.

But then the woman made a big mistake. She met a man in a parking lot near her home and handed over her gold – twice!

The scammers convinced the woman that the man was a government courier and that they would safely store her gold for her.

A relative finally convinced the victim that she was being scammed, and she reported it to the police. Officers set up a sting operation, contacting the scammers and setting up a third handoff. This time, the woman was an undercover officer.

Police arrested Wenhui Sun, of Lake Arbor, California. Unfortunately for the woman, there is still no sign of her gold.

According to Maryland State's Attorney John McCarthy, this nationwide cash-to-gold scam victimized at least a dozen senior citizens across the country. 

In fact, Money Metals has detected two other such instances in the past two weeks and has even helped bag one of the crooks in Illinois who had 16 gold kilo bars in his possession.

Meanwhile, the FBI recently put out a public service announcement regarding the scheme.

Don’t Be a Scam Victim

There are several steps people can take to avoid being victimized by gold scams. 

First and foremost, only do business with a trusted company such as Money Metals. It should go without saying, but never buy gold or silver in a parking lot behind a convenience store (This has happened.) or from a sketchy strip mall storefront.

Second, don’t trust unknown people calling your phone and making unsolicited pitches. No matter how convincing or credible they may seem, these people are almost always scammers.

Third, securely store your gold and silver, either in your own safe or in a trusted vaulting security.

Fourth, don’t unnecessarily tell people about your gold and silver. The fewer people who know about it, the safer you’ll be.

Fifth, remember the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Don’t get taken in by unusually low prices. If somebody is trying to sell you gold or silver below the spot price, it is almost certainly a scam.

Also, please read this article from Money Metals. Some of the biggest and longest-running scams involve dealers who employ high-pressure salesmen and TV ads using celebrity spokesmen. Another type is the failure-to-deliver swindle.


Mike Maharrey is a journalist and market analyst for with over a decade of experience in precious metals. He holds a BS in accounting from the University of Kentucky and a BA in journalism from the University of South Florida.

The naturally occurring gold-silver alloy is called electrum.
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