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September 20, 2021

Fake gold bars popping up in New York City

Back in March, a little-read report came out of the U.K. detailing a particularly clever caper.

After the buyer of a gold bar became suspicious, he drilled into it, only to find what he thought was 1 kg of pure gold was anything but. Much of the gold had been hollowed from the centre and replaced with tungsten, a much less precious metal that shares a similar weight to gold.

At the time, and for months after, it was a real Whodunit, if an isolated one.

But things just got a whole lot more interesting. Bogus gold bars with the same tungsten core have popped up in New York City now, too.

According to Fox New York, a buyer recently scooped up a 10-ounce bar from a reputable gold dealer for $18,000.

*Bing: Why it pays to own gold

But something didn’t seem right, so the buyer, as did the one in England, drilled into the bar to find it was filled with tungsten, which costs just over a dollar an ounce (gold, by contrast, sold for more than $1,700 per ounce Thursday).

Now, sceptics are saying there’s a fake gold bar ring going around, and at least the sophistication is there.

In order to pull off the ruse, scammers must drill into the bars, melt out the real gold and fill it with tungsten. The bar is then closed up, but since its serial number remains intact, it’s near impossible to tell just what’s inside that pricey hunk of gold.

Remarkably, such suspicions may not be new.

One-time U.S. presidential candidate Ron Paul famously demanded an audit of the American gold reserves last year, alleging the gold in Fort Knox and elsewhere might be fraudulent, too.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...