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BBB: Don’t Get Scammed In Gold Rush

The BBB Serving the Snake River Region is warning residents to beware of gold scams.

Advertisements in newspapers, Internet and television make it sound simple to take those gold in and exchange it ounce for ounce. Although many businesses and websites are legitimate, there are just as many illegitimate ones, Chief Storyteller Robb Hicken said in a news release Friday.

BBB said Idaho Falls resident Karen, who didn?t want her name used, said she was quick to see a problem when the caller identified herself as a representative from Cash for Gold.

?She said she had an opportunity for me to make more money than the last time I?d sent in my gold,? she said. ?But I?d never sold gold to anyone before.?

She said she hung up the phone and investigated the caller ID, and discovered the call had come from Michigan, not Florida, where Cash for Gold is located.

?I just didn?t feel right,? she says.

BBB advises consumers stay away from online and phone solicitors who quote high gold prices and then instruct them to send them to an ?escrow service? or pay advance fees for the transaction via a money-wire service. Often these scams are operated overseas.

BBB gave some tips on how you can avoid being scammed for gold:

— To get the best price, determine the value of the jewelry as a whole and not just the scrap value of gold. Some estate pieces ? your grandmother?s broach perhaps ? might fetch more ?as is? than for its gold content alone.

— Dental fillings, gold teeth, bridges and crowns are usually 16 karat gold and can be resold as well. Some dental gold contains platinum as a hardening agent, and that boosts the value even more. Gold knickknacks and medallions are candidates for resale, too.

— If you?re mailing jewelry pieces, photograph the pieces, including any identifying marks. Make a written list of the items as well and keep one for yourself and put a copy in the envelope. And be sure to insure the items so you can recover the value if they are lost in transit.

— Beware of large ?expos? set up by out-of-town businesses to buy old jewelry. Advertisements for these events include a sense of urgency or limited-time offers and claims that they pay the highest available prices.

— Learn how gold is measured before selling an item. It?s important to know how a karat plays into the sell. The Federal Trade Commission requires jewelry sold in the U.S. describe a karat fineness of the alloy. One karat equals 1/24 of pure gold by weight, which means that 14 karat gold is 14 part gold and 10 part other metals. Jewelry less than 10 karats cannot be legally sold as ?gold jewelry.?

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