SPOTTING A FAKE GOLD SALE POST ON LINKEDIN
Author: Barnaby Milbourn
Real Gold Dealers on LinkedIn
How do you tell if the Gold post on LinkedIn is real?
Ive gone through on previous posts specifying why certain types of gold deals from sellers or offers from buyers just wont work, to help you narrow down the field. Todays post is to specifically hone in on ways to ascertain if a specific buyer or seller on LinkedIn (not that these rules dont apply elsewhere too) is the real deal and Im sure Ill follow up with other posts to assist you in your search.
If like me you get 50+ offers a day on LinkedIn you get to see patterns, which Im today going to try and help you to see. This ISN’T infallible, its just a guideline.
So… Youve seen or recieved a message with an offer, first thing to do click on the person who sent it /posted it and look at their background.
Firstly look at their name and photo. Is it a photo of a real person or a picture they are hiding behind? No photo is a big warning! This is the standard practice of a scammer who has multiple fake profiles. Avoid these ones at all costs, there is NO reason to hide who you are (and Im pretty sure its against LinkedIn rules). Also is it a real name, or again a pretend title or company with no registration behind it. You can google most companies and if they are real youll get 100s of pages on them, their background and their dealings going back years. Ignore Facebook, LinkedIn, TradeKey, AliBaBa and similar references as obviously this is just what theyve posted themselves. If theres a website go to who.is and see how long its been in existence (prefereably a minimum of 5 to 10 years).
Secondly look at the title theyve given themselves, is it mandate, buyer/seller, a massive list of everything under the sun, or something equally inane or irrevlavant to the product they are purporting to buy or sell. Any of these are another major warning they have no knowledge of the product and are most likely just forwarding a spam email theyve recieved. Gold dealers tend to work in gold almost exclusively, its a big money, high risk business and allows little room to play at something else.
Thirdly their background history, what were they trained as, where, what have they been doing since, is it also related?
Lastly, posts posts posts! Look at their comments to posts, look at what theyve posted. This is a huge one and can give you an indication of how long their profile has existed (or if its a new scam shell) and if this is just a repeat scam theyve posted every week for the last several months. Lots of clues to be gleaned here!
Its a non exhaustive list AND only a guide but I hope it helps you on your journey. Trust is key, so find someone who youd be happy to do business with, not someone thats constantly setting your teeth on edge with worry. Good luck.
Brokers in Gold – Jokers or Justified?
All the seller brokers out there please take this as advice from the other side of the equation. Brokers are essential (well… some anyway) as they put remote miners in touch with real buyers. With around 15 people writing to me on a daily basis about gold sales you tend to get some repeating patterns and to save me and you some time in the long run, lets narrow it down.
Firstly you’ve got those trying to break into the industry looking for advice, no problem, ill give it where I can. Trust me this is a big money game, if you’ve not got the backing don’t try, you need money and you need close friends who’ll trust you with their gold. (1 in 15)
Secondly you have those on the ground with contacts looking to develop bigger better deals, in touch with the sellers direct, been there done that, excellent! (1 in 15)
Lastly you have email joker brokers. Ive received some photos and a contract and I can be a millionaire overnight from commissions. They don’t live in Africa, have never been. No idea how a real contract is done, never seen a kilo of dore. Swearing blind their seller is the real deal if I’d just spend a week of my precious time and tens of thousands of dollars visiting them. Having received well over 10,000 gold contracts I know that its not just probably a scam, its so close to 100% you might as well just call it what it is. (13 of 15)
Yes there are real seller deals out there and NO they aren’t received via email or EVER sent to someone they don’t know. If you got a deal via email, unless you know that person REALLY well, like a brother, its a scam, 100%.
If you’re not in the first 2 categories please don’t contact me, Ive been doing it for well over a decade, Ill be fine without your email offer thanks. There’s 1000s of people on LinkedIn that’d be happy to receive it and will immediately send you their Whatsapp number or yahoo email address, stick with them.
Safe Deal or Scam Deal. There’s no in between.
You will all have noticed my increased presence on social media lately, (Due to the fact Ive stopped being lazy) which has I’m (sort of) glad to say, led to an increase in the amount of offers being received.
Within the interminable dross that passes for my inbox I will say there’s been some glitter, which may even turn out to be gold if I’m lucky, but as always a majority is your standard BS. Just like 99.9% of the gold posts on LinkedIn. So lets just lay down a golden (dealer) rule for all you lovely buyers / sellers out there
Safe Deal or Scam Deal, there’s no in between! This small saying (that I made up) could not be more true and it applies to both sides of the equation. Buyers don’t ask the seller for CIF unless you’re offering something they really need in return, its a two way street. Sellers don’t ask the buyers to ‘come for a TTM’ along with photos of gold we know you don’t own, any real buyer gets these on a hourly basis (I know I do) and its just not possible to travel that much, nor financially viable.
A real deal is about give and take so both parties win, ONLY ever go into business with a company you trust 100% or you’ll only waste your own time. Find a real buyer/seller and you’ll see straight away that it all makes sense and is done in a way where no one stands to lose. Its really not that hard if you’re willing to go the extra mile and do it properly!
The CIF Gold Scam
Time and again we see numerous fake profiles, random emails, ‘mandates for refineries’ and scammers offering to purchase Gold CIF. While there are some large companies that ask for this legitimately, why do I say its a scam?
There’s a very simple answer to this. Gold IS money, it has value and that’s why everyone wants it. If you are asking a seller to bring ten million dollars of gold to you (approx 250kg) then that will cost him in the region of $1Million USD for all taxes, paperwork, shipping, insurance, security, etc, etc. Obviously not including the original purchase price / production cost.
Of course there are also many risks involved in transacting in something with such a large value, which you are asking the seller to take on himself. After which you are offering to then pay him less than its current value as you want it at a discount.
When you think about it it is obvious why sellers don’t do CIF, isn’t it?
Real Gold transactions are done on the ground, face to face, by professional experienced gold teams. PLEASE scam buyers, stop posting these ridiculous CIF offers, the only response you’ll get is from the fake sellers.
In Gold We Trust?
Anyone in this business knows the hardest part is trust. It doesn’t matter which side you’re on, from thousands of fake sellers asking you to visit them with no proofs to give, to joker broker CIF buyers, to fake documentation (SKRs, SBLCs, MTs etc). Its a bit of a minefield!
The easy ones to spot are your common scams like the 200MT HSBC Hong Kong deal, or your bullion in Switzerland at -5%. The common African scams are also easy as you know they can sell on ground at -2% (in Ghana for example) with lots of reputable buyers in town, why offer it out? Only one fraudulent reason..Obviously.
So…what do you do? After 12 years in business I have 3 main nuggets of advice.
(1) If its an email offer or LinkedIn offer, and you don’t know them VERY well, its a fake.
(2) If its too good to be true, it is! Guaranteed. Check the maths, big profit = fake, there’s too much on ground competition for those margins.
(3) If you’re doing a gold deal, check out who you’re working with. Professional background, company, personal and licencing checks. They are a fraction of a percent of a deal from a company like ours.
This post NEEDED writing, to be honest I could have written an essay but Ill make this as short as possible. Every Day on LinkedIn and through our website we are seeing countless Gold offers being advertised. Most of the time we’ve seen the same offers already from the same people. (Almost) without exception these offers are fraudulent. Most of the time its easily provable as the figures, percentages, locations or prices don’t add up, yet still people argue with us about its legitimacy. When you are arguing with the worlds largest online Gold Fraud website and a qualified Gold Fraud officer with over a decade of experience and having seen and checked well over 10,000 deals. Think Again! We gain nothing from a fake offer, our only remit is to stamp out fraud by helping others not to fall for it. We get reports of over a million dollars each week being lost to these scams. ALSO and I think quite importantly you should consider the fact that posting the idiotic fake offer you’ve just received by email is a criminal offence. You are committing fraud across international boundaries. Why do you think the seller themselves didn’t sell it, a big company like ours is easy to find, why do you think they aren’t selling it for more money locally to the many on ground purchasers (like us)??? These guys aren’t stupid, in fact I work with a lot of very shrewd Africans every day. Wake up people and stop letting your greed outweigh your intelligence.
Gold Retains Its Value
This is a repost from July 2011.
An article that caught my eye on the BBC and the reason I am writing today is the recent find of a hoard of Gold coins in France.
“A French couple have found a hoard of gold coins worth at least £89,000 in the cellar of their home in the town of Millau.
They were working on their drains when they dug up the 34 coins in a little clay pot”
Whilst 34 coins isn’t bad, I’d hardly call it a hoard. As you can see from the pictures its barely a handful, yet at an average of over £2,600 per coin that’s a pretty good find!
These coins date from 1595 to 1789, around Louis XIII to the French Revolution. We know they are worth £89,000 now, but what did that mean to someone then?
It took a lot of digging as people mainly were “self employed” back then as blacksmiths, farmers, etc, so there really wasn’t an average wage to compare it to. So using a few different sources of information I managed to compile a guide to its value, though with my limited knowledge of 17th century France it’s a bit of an educated guess.
In the early 1600’s a labourer on the land would have earned around 3 sous a day, but with the latest coins dated in the late 1700’s it was around 15 sous per day. With 20 sous in a franc and a Gold Louis XIII coin worth about 20 francs. That’s a yearly wage of about 14 Gold coins. So this hoard represents under 2.5 years of savings (assuming you spent nothing at all!)
Not in my mind this raises 2 main points which are food for thought.
Firstly you have savings in coins that stretched over 200 years but STILL retained value and were legal currency. In fact they still have value NOW 400 years later! Try paying in shillings now, only 40 years later.
Secondly a farm labourer in the 1700’s would have earnt (the equivalent of) £89,000 in less than 2.5 years or £36,650 a year. That’s almost double the average annual wage now.
Thanks BBC, if I ever wanted an article to prove my arguments that;
(1) Gold retains it’s value over time
(2) Gold always has been and will be redeemable
(3) Inflation devalues your currency
Hopefully a lesson learnt today and I don’t mean that if you earn less than £36,650 you earn less than an 18th century farm worker, I mean GOLD IS MONEY.
Doesn’t matter how big the number you get in your wage packet is, if there is no value behind it. Things are coming to a head at an ever increasing rate, don’t get left empty handed when the crash comes.
EU Web of Debt – Repost from 2011
Here’s a post I wrote back in 2011, with everything going on in the UK and the EU today I thought it seemed pretty relevant. Lots of interesting facts to make you smile!
It’s 2011, you cannot turn on a TV, listen to a radio or open a newspaper without the European Union Debt Crisis being thrust down your throat. Depending on where you live, you are either being told your taxes will need raising to pay for it, or more austerity and cuts will be needed to avert it. Most likely both!
One minute it’s PIIGS, then Greece is tipping us over the edge single handed, before Italy starts to feel left out and piles into the melee. The joys of a unified currency.
Those of us sitting prettily in the UK wiping the sweat from our brow, not having joined the Euro, can stop looking smug. We are owed 120 billion Euros by Germany, 186 billion Euros by France, 93 billion Euros by Ireland and that’s just a few of our neighbours! We are up to our necks in Euro debt.
With such huge figures being thrown about, you begin to wonder how all this debt was created? Where did it come from? Who had all this money to lend to the European Union?
Ridiculously the answer is every country in the EU! As debt costs nothing to create, you can theoretically lend an infinite amount of money to other countries even though you never had it in the first place. It’s just numbers on a computer. We mentioned earlier that France owed Britain 186 billion Euros but Britain owes France 194 billion Euros.
I’m sure it’s not just me that had the Eureka moment just then, that if you owe someone £10 and they owe you £8 you can work out that you actually just owe £2 and they owe you nothing? Pretty basic maths by anyone’s standards!
You may be thinking that it’s just not that simple, surely it can’t be? Well you are right. Countries lending is also based on the term of the loans. If you have a 1 year loan for £100 at 10% interest and a 3 year loan for £100 at 10% interest, then the 3 year loan is worth more to you, as you are gaining more interest overall and therefore earning more money.
A minor adjustment is required to the original Eureka moment. To cancel debts you need to sort them into short, medium and long term loans and then we are able to cancel debts of similar values.
Getting into the swing of it, there is an even deeper level of debt cancellation! If Mr X owes Mr Y £100 and Mr Y owes Mr Z £80 and Mr Z owes Mr X £50 then you can partially cross cancel debt by agreement of 3 parties.
Before going any further, it is time to assess what we are working with. How much debt is out there? Trying to get the answers to this is astronomically difficult but a great visual representation from a report entitled “The Great EU Debt Write Off” (May 20th 2011, Anthony J Evans & Terence Tse) is shown below:
Though this only takes into account the major European countries, these are the ones with the largest debts; Britain’s debt alone is shown as nearly 1 trillion Euros. (As of November 2018 Britain now owes over 2 trillion Euros to the rest of the EU)
Debt doesn’t really matter though if you are owed more than you lent out. (theoretically)
Another factor to take into consideration is that debt is normally measured against the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of a country. A large country like Britain can afford a greater debt than Greece as the economy is proportionally bigger. The IMF states that to be considered for membership to the EU your debt to GDP ratio should not exceed 60%, where as currently Ireland is well over 100% and climbing.
So once you narrow it down and take away the layers of concealment you reveal the countries with the real underlying debt issues. Put simply, those who owe more than they are owed.
Shown below, using the same visual representation after our debt cancellation procedures have been taken into account.
Just using the basic principles of debt cancellation previously mentioned we can clearly see certain countries are MUCH better off than before.
France has actually managed to reduce its debt to less than 1 billion Euros! Even Britain has reduced its debt by more than 50%.
Further debt cancellation is also possible using 4 parties or more, though in this scenario it has not been taken into account.
Another small contributing factor to the debt reduction above was allowing countries to have the option to negotiate debts of different lengths at different values. As an example a short debt of 3 billion for a long debt of 1 billion, as they will earn the country a similar overall interest.
- Total debt can be reduced by over 59%
- Average debt to GDP can be reduced from 35% to 12%
- Ireland, Italy, Spain, Britain, France & Germany can reduce overall debt by more than 50%
- Irelands debt to GDP ratio goes from 140% down to 20%
- France can virtually eliminate debt to less than 0.1% of GDP
Other Interesting Facts
- 50% of Portugal’s debt is owed to Spain
- Ireland and Italy can write off all their debt to other PIIGS countries
- Greece can reduce their debt by 20% with 60% owed to France and 30% to Germany
- Britain has the highest debt before and after the debt cancellation but can reduce their debt to GDP by 30%
- Germany can reduce their debt to less than 5% of GDP
- Prior to adding bailouts, Greece’s debt to GDP is only 36% before and under 30% after
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