Several years ago I wrote an article for PawnLink.org that highlighted the growing frequency our pawnbroker customers were being exposed to and taken advantage of with fake bullion and replica coins. Many of these defrauded, poured, and extruded Precious Metal investment pieces started out as legitimate bullion products coming from reputable refineries and banks. Scammers would drill out actual Gold or Silver from these pieces and back-fill them with materials like Lead or Tungsten rods. Eventually, we began seeing scammers implementing higher levels of skill to produce replica coins and bullion through minting, electroplating, and even cladding over low value base metal to look like authentic precious metal currencies and investment bullion.
Train your staff! A little help from the coin guy today. Sadly I do see some pawnbrokers who have paid decent money for this stuff which is usually not worth anything over it's face value.
Lately, it seems like stories are popping up every week of pawnbrokers, jewelers, and coin and bullion dealers being victimized by fraudsters. Headlines abound of fake gold and silver bars and high end fake coins being passed off as the genuine article. It is essential that we as pawnbrokers have the right tools and knowledge to combat these growing threats.