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Approved contract on a clipboard accompanying genuine physical gold bullion

 

Purchasing gold bullion bars can be a great way to diversify your investments and protect against inflation. However, there are, unfortunately, scams out there when it comes to gold bars. Some unscrupulous dealers may sell fake gold bars plated with a thin layer of gold over a cheaper metal. 

Others may sell bars that are not the purity claimed. This can lead to customers overpaying for gold that is not worth what they think.

That’s why purchasing gold bullion only from reputable dealers that provide Comex-approved bars is important. In this article, we’ll explain how to ensure you buy authentic Comex-approved gold bars and ways to avoid being scammed. 

 

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What are Comex Gold Bullion Bars?

Comex, also known as the Commodity Exchange Inc., is a futures and options exchange owned and operated by CME Group. They provide regulated trading platforms and clearing services for metals futures contracts, including gold, silver, copper, and aluminium.

The Comex certifies gold bullion bars from approved refiners that meet their stringent standards for quality and purity. Their certification process examines factors like the refinery standards, chain of custody documentation, and independent third-party assay results.

 

How to Identify Comex Gold Bullion Bars

When purchasing gold bullion bars, look for the Comex-approved stamp and markings that verify the bar’s authenticity. These are the features to look for:

COMEX Stamp - This will include “COMEX,” “CME Group,” or “CME Group Inc.” indicating it is an officially certified Comex bar. Older bars use the original “Commodity Exchange Inc.”

Serial Number - This is a unique stamp from the Comex refiner listing the bar’s identification number.

Weight - This will be stamped in troy ounces. Comex-approved bars are approximately 400 troy ounces. Retail bars are often 1 ounce up to 10 ounces.

Fineness - The purity is shown, such as .9999 or .9995

Refiner - This indicates the Comex-approved refinery that produced the bar. Common refiners include PAMP Suisse, Metalor, Heraeus, and Johnson Matthey.

If any of these markings are unclear or missing, that should raise suspicions about the bar’s legitimacy. You can verify the serial number online through databases provided by gold dealers to check if it is an officially registered Comex bar.

Some additional anti-counterfeiting measures may include:

  • Micro-engraved lines or logo
  • Milled edges that show unique texture and lines
  • Surface imperfections like bubbles and ridges

High-quality fake gold bars may try to mimic the Comex-approved stamp. But they likely will not match the specific serial number of a real Comex bar or include these additional security features.

Take a look at this article: Evolution of Comex-approved Silver Bars

 

Avoiding Gold Bullion Scams

To avoid falling victim to gold bar scams, here are the preventive measures you must remember:

1. Carefully Scrutinize Markings

Examine the Comex-approved stamp and serial number, weight, purity level, and refiner markings to ensure they look legitimate. Watch for spelling errors, uneven stamping, or other signs of alteration.

2. Perform Weight and Dimension Testing

 

Detailed close up of a golden colored ruler highlighting a measurement of four inches

 

Use a precision scale to ensure the weight matches the Comex-approved stamp. Compare dimensions to known standards. Fake bars may not have the correct thickness or dimensions.

3. Do Ping Testing

Suspend the gold bar by a string and tap it gently with a coin or other metal object. The sound/ring will vary based on whether the bar is solid gold or gold-plated tungsten.

4. Conduct Magnet Testing

Gold is non-magnetic. Run a strong magnet over the entire surface to detect any iron or steel indicating a counterfeit bar.

5. Examine Ends and Edges

Fake bars may have rough or irregular ends where the tungsten and gold meet. The milled edges should show uniform machining lines.

6. Verify Certificates

Only buy from dealers that provide updated certificates of authenticity with documented verification steps.

7. Research the Dealer

Check dealer reviews and complaints, length of time in business, and industry certifications. Avoid dealers with red flags.

The more testing and research done around each dealer and specific bar purchased, the lower the risk of falling victim to a gold bullion scam.

Here’s an interesting read for you: Why Gold Investment Opportunities Shine in Bullish and Bearish Markets

 

Fake Gold Bar? Here’s What to Do Next

 

A bearded individual engaged in thought pen in hand in front of a laptop screen

 

Purchasing what you believe to be real gold bullion only to discover it is counterfeit later can be incredibly disheartening and frustrating. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, act quickly and decisively to have the best chance at recouping your money and exposing the fraudulent seller.

First, if possible, attempt to stop any payments you’ve made. Alert your bank and credit card company to see if they can halt or reverse the transactions. Gather documentation from a certified assayer stating precisely how the gold is fake. 

With evidence of fraud in hand, confront the dealer, requesting either a refund or legitimate replacement bars. If they do not make right on the sale, file formal complaints with organizations like the Better Business Bureau, warning others of the scam.

You’ll also want to report the crime to local law enforcement and consider contacting a lawyer knowledgeable in precious metals fraud. An attorney can advise you on laws in your state regarding consumer protections and help determine if legal action against the dealer is recommended. 

While disheartening, acting decisively by stopping payment, alerting authorities, seeking legal counsel, and warning other consumers can potentially recover losses while preventing additional innocent buyers from being scammed.

Consider giving this a look: Portfolio Protection With Gold And Silver

 

Bottomline

There are scams involving fake gold bars circulating in the market that cost innocent investors. Traders can avoid these scams by carefully examining the markings, conducting tests, and thoroughly researching dealers. 

While physical gold bullion can be one investment option, traders should also consider other ways to invest in gold that avoid counterparty risk, such as Contract for Differences (CFDs) trading. CFDs allow speculating on gold prices without taking physical delivery. 

Whichever investment method you choose, vigilance is vital. Do your due diligence, only use trusted counterparties, and actively verify authenticity to become a successful precious metals trader. 

Learn and trade with markets.com: The ultimate trading community!
 

“When considering “CFDs” for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs involves significant risk and could result in capital loss. Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.” 

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