Selling Silver or Platinum? How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off

Is every company that deals with precious metals honest? We wish that they all were but sadly, that is not the case.

Here are a few scams you should know about.

Let the seller beware? Credit: Ken Tannenbaum/iStock.

Let the seller beware? Credit: Ken Tannenbaum/iStock.

Lying about What You Have

A man tells us that when he took a platinum engagement ring he owned into one of those “we buy gold” roadside stores, the woman behind the counter assured him that it was made of silver and offered him about 10% of what it was worth. The man knew better – he had purchased the ring back in 2005 - and headed out the door with the ring still in his pocket.

Countermeasures to avoid this kind of scam:

  • If you are not 100% sure what you have, take your metallic pieces and jewelry to several stores or appraisers and see what they tell you. Get a second and third opinion.
  • If you own a number of items that are made from precious metals, from a pair of antique sterling silver cufflinks to a box of platinum scrap, have them tested now, so you will know what they are worth before you are under pressure to sell. If you call us at 800-426-2344, we can offer you some advice.

Switching Your Items for Others

Switching items when you are not looking is a classic crime that is not about to go away. It takes many forms. In one example, you take a piece of jewelry to be repaired, but when you pick it up, the jewelry store hands you a little brown envelope that contains a different item of jewelry and hopes that you do not notice that a switcheroo has taken place. Of course, the jeweler has replaced your valuable item (like a platinum ring) with something less valuable that looks similar (like a silver ring).

Countermeasures to avoid this scam:

  • Visit the Better Business Bureau and other monitoring agencies before doing business with any jewelers.
  • Get a full written description from the jeweler of items you bring in for repair. Both you and the jeweler should sign it. Before you leave the store, carefully review the description of what you are dropping off to be certain it is accurate.
  • Examine and photograph all items carefully before dropping them off to be repaired. If a jeweler sees you photograph what you are dropping off, he or she will be less likely to try any monkey business.
  • Carefully examine jewelry when you pick it up. Notice if anything is different or damaged. And be sure to examine all repaired items carefully in the store before you leave. It might surprise you to know that a lot of people pick up repaired items and never look at them until days, weeks or even months later. Crooks count on just that kind of behavior.
  • If you suspect shady dealings with the jeweler when you arrive to do your pick up, consider calling the police while you are still in the store. If you leave with a damaged item or if you leave something you own in the store, you’re only giving the crook additional time to cover up criminal activity.

Providing Fraudulent Paperwork

Lots of games can be played with fraudulent documentation. A jewelry store sells you what has been described verbally to you as a platinum ring with a real diamond, for example, but if you read the small print on your receipt or other documentation, you could discover that you bought something different. And if you pawn an item, don’t accept a scribbled receipt that contains inaccurate information about what your item is, how much money you got for it, and what the terms are for reclaiming it.

Remember that by simply reading paperwork carefully before signing or accepting it, you can protect yourself from a lot of scams.

Countermeasures to avoid this kind of scam:

  • Ask for full and accurate written descriptions of everything that you buy, sell, pawn or have repaired. Read the paperwork right in front of the person who issues it and do not feel rushed to sign it or leave.
  • Store all paperwork safely and be sure to bring it with you when you pick up repairs, ask for refunds, or engage in any other transactions.
  • Review all paperwork carefully when you pick up or buy any items. Another thing? If you are given carbon or duplicate copies, review them all carefully to make sure that the information is the same on all of them.

Want to Know More About Protecting Yourself from Theft and Fraud?

Give us a call at 800-426-2344 if you have jewelry or other precious-metal items that you would like to have tested, or if you simply want some advice about how to get the most return from your investment in precious metals.

Related Posts:

Scams to Avoid when Selling Precious Metals 
How to Tell the Difference Between Silver, White Gold and Platinum 
Three Shady Precious Metal Scams You Should Know About 
Don’t Fall Victim to “Cash for Gold” Scams