Got gold? You might wish you did at record $1,452.50 p/ounce

Gold prices soar, scammers will too

The cost of gold is skyrocketing, with the price today closing at $1,452.50 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. With that crazy number, which experts say is a result of US government shut-down uncertainty and the war in Libya, comes the scammers of course, and an uptick in thefts of the prized metal.

More on hot metal: AT&T goes after copper wire thieves

This from the Federal Trade Commission:  If you are interested in buying gold, do some digging before investing. Some gold promoters don't deliver what they promise, and may push people into buying one form of gold over another. Consider these universal truths:

The price of gold fluctuates over time. There is no guarantee that gold will increase - or even maintain - its value.  Some sellers say that the government may confiscate gold. Others say that "reportable" transactions lead to confiscation. Yet other sellers claim that modern bullion coins produced by the U.S. Mint are subject to confiscation while historic or collectible coins aren't. These claims sometimes lead people to buy historic coins at prices that exceed their value. No current federal law or Treasury Department regulation supports any of these claims.

Investigate Before You Invest. If you are buying bullion coins or collectible coins, ask for the coin's melt value - the basic intrinsic bullion value of a coin if it were melted and sold. The melt value for virtually all bullion coins and collectible coins is widely available.  Consult with a reputable dealer or financial advisor you trust who has specialized knowledge. Walk away from sales pitches that minimize risk or sales representatives who claim that risk disclosures are mere formalities. Reputable sales reps are upfront about the risk of particular investments. Always get a receipt for your transaction.

Refuse to "act now." Any sales pitch that urges you to buy immediately is a signal to walk away and hold on to your money.

On the theft side, some cities are following the trend of registering metal dealers that arose from the ongoing battle against copper thieves.

This from the AP: Meridian, Idaho officials are considering ways to curtail the theft of gold, silver and platinum in town. A proposed ordinance would require precious metal dealers to be licensed in the same way as pawnbrokers and impose a 10-day waiting period before jewelry or coins could be sold or melted down. Meridian City Attorney Bill Nary says the waiting period would give police more time to ensure items had not been stolen.

This from The Mission Blog: San Francisco Jewelry stores are holding tight to their merchandise after $250,000 in gold was stolen from a store at 23rd and Mission last weekend. Thieves broke into Farmer's Insurance - the business next door - first, and then used a pry bar to break through the bottom of a reinforced door connecting the two storefronts. They took only gold, ignoring other valuables, like electronics, entirely.

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8  

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