The London Bullion Market Agency has come up with strict gold refining standards. The is are created to ensure that refiners make good quality gold in an ethical way. Despite all the work and trouble that regulatory bodies and reputable gold manufacturers take there are still gold bullion bars of inferior quality making their way into the market.
These fake gold bars look legitimate and they are being used to launder money. This is becoming one of the most popular ways for criminals to fund their enterprises. So far, according to executives in four of the largest refineries estimate that at least 1000 fake standard sized Gold bullion bars have been found in Swiss banks. This might seem like a small numbers considering that the gold industry produces more than 2 million of these bars a year. The forgeries are so sophisticated that many more may be lying in vaults or in private homes undetected.
The high price of gold has not only created a boom in the number of illegitimate dealers who sell bullion illicitly. Normally, gold without the appropriate, legitimate stamps would have been sold by dubious dealers at incredibly discounted. Usually these dealers are found on Ebay.
Where is this fake gold bullion coming from? Most gold dealers believe that the source of these counterfeit bars is China. ThisCountry happens to be the biggest user and importer of gold. These counterfeits are sold off to dubious retail investors searching for a bargain online. If this the price is to cheap to be true, then most likely it’s not. This is why gold dealers will take extra precautions to test the authenticity when you sell bullion bars to them. However, before you even take your bullion to a dealer there are tests that you can do on your own to avoid the disappointment of having someone dismiss you for selling fake gold. This also increases your chances of filing a dispute through Ebay and Paypal to get your money back.
First things first, quality gold bars have marking s that are used to identify them and ensure a level of authenticity. These markings include
- The logo of the mint that produced the bars
- The purity of the bar
- The weight of the bar
- Serial numbers
If any. Or all of these markings are missing, then you might have a fake bar on your hands. There are some simple tests you can perform at home to verify the authenticity of your gold.
The Nitric Acid Test
- Rub a piece of gold on a blacktouchstone.
- Apply nitric acid on the gold mark left on the stone.
- If the mark dissolves, then you know that you have genuine golf
The Nitric acid test is cheap, fast and easy for anyone to use. Nitric test kits can be bought online. The problem with this test however is that you are required to scratch your gold item which means damaging your gold. It also means that you get to test the surface only, some counterfeit gold bars have very thick outer lining.
The Magnet test
Using a magnet to test gold is the most simple method. This is because investment grade bullion with a fineness of.9999 is not magnetic however counterfeit bars are usually laden with highly magnetic metallic alloys.
A professional Gold dealer will employ other types of testing like magnetic scale, conductivity test or more sophisticated methods such as XRF testing.