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At Gold Smart we are sometimes contacted by members of the New Zealand public who have been offered large sums of gold in return for sending money overseas to an unknown recipient for shipping. Lured by the possibility of improving their financial situation, internet users are easily falling into a trap engineered by the creative mind of these swindlers.

These illegal businesses, according to estimates from US websites, generate billions per year in revenue.

The schemes that attract the majority of unwitting victims are those in which there are promises of participation in large fortunes. These fabricated stories invariably appeal to the emotional and religious. They all say they have lucrative accounts, and that for reasons not always explained, are blocked. This is usually where the victim is asked to make an advance payment, with the justification given for using the money to pay attorney costs, incentives and fees or even the trip to retrieve the gold.

There are thousands of posts available online that tell similar stories. The common theme is that there is always millions of dollars available to share. The figures quoted range from 8 to 700 million dollars. They will say they have in their possession diamonds, cash and hundreds of pounds of gold and that for some reason the valuables will be sold to the recipient for a price much lower than that practiced in the free market.

The origin of the gold is always doubtful so to give credibility to this source there are all kinds of stories; that it was stolen from a corrupt dictator in Ghana or from a “mean sergeant in Nigeria”. In most cases, the messages claim the origin of the gold or diamonds is legitimate and will have paperwork to prove ownership and purity.

Gold scams are dangerous and you should not make contact with these criminals under any circumstances – least they find out your identity, steal your money, hold you to ransom or make you complicit in their crime.  You would be surprised how many people in New Zealand fall for these scams every year.

Be alert and vigilant and don’t fall for the trap.