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ATHENS, Ala. – WHNT News 19 is Taking Action with a warning for people who invest in gold and silver. Make certain you know the metals you’re buying are real!  We’ve learned someone in our area is selling fake gold and silver bars to unsuspecting investors.

Fake gold discovered in Limestone County. (Photo: WHNT News 19)
A fake gold ingot discovered in Limestone County. (Photo: WHNT News 19)

A lot of people buy gold and silver as an investment, to tuck away for a rainy day or for retirement. Well, imagine years later you try to cash it in only to learn it’s worthless. That’s exactly what would happen if you bought one of these. They’re fake. They look just like the real thing, but they’re not. Someone in Limestone County is selling this junk to unsuspecting investors.

“The ten grams, you’re talking over $400 right there,” says gold and silver trader Harry White. He paid several thousand dollars for a quantity of gold and silver ingots that turned out to be fakes.

White has been trading precious metals for many years, but even he was fooled. The company represented on the front of the package, The Perth Mint, is very real, and very legitimate. They even put a notice on their web page warning people to beware of the counterfeits. But the scammers have copied the packaging, right down to the individual serial number on the back. And what’s inside the package is pure junk.

“If this was gold, you rub it on that stone right there and it’s gonna look like gold,” White explains as he demonstrates one of several reliable methods of testing the metals. He added, “It looks a lot like copper. And if this is silver, you rub it on that store right there and it would look white. It would look like silver.” Both markings appeared to be copper. A subsequent acid test on the markings confirmed neither bar was legitimate.

Experts tell us to avoid getting scammed, make sure you buy from a reputable dealer. Avoid bargains you might find at flea markets, auctions and online sites like Craigslist. If you buy from an individual, keep careful records of who they are and how you can reach them if there’s a problem. And finally, if you’ve bought something like this in the Limestone or Morgan County areas recently, have it tested.

The counterfeit metals are readily available online. The ads will tell you it’s a replica, but nowhere on the actual package will it say that. White says he knows where his fake gold and silver came from and says he’s already turned the matter over to law enforcement.