A new wave of counterfeit PAMP gold bars are making the rounds. These new fakes show much better quality than earlier attempts, especially with the packaging. Previous fake PAMP Suisse gold bars have been easily detected when compared to the real thing (see image, left).
These new fakes not only have a better strike quality than previous examples, but there are no obvious errors in the packaging. Retail customers who are not familiar with the size and appearance of real PAMP Suisse gold bars could easily be duped.
These new bars are apparently made from a very dense material, according to dealers who have encountered them. The length and width are the same as the real thing, but the bars are noticeably thicker when compared to a genuine bar, so that these fake PAMP Suisse gold bars weigh the same as the real thing.
To combat these more sophisticated fakes, PAMP Suisse has developed a new technology called VERISCAN. This incredible system details the surface data (topography) of each bar while they're still in the production line, analyzing each bar's microscopic topography—essentially like its fingerprint. It then stores that surface profile for each bar, allowing it to subsequently be uniquely identified for verification purposes. This greatly reduces the risk of ending up with a counterfeit PAMP bar without spending a great deal of time or causing any destruction to the bar itself.
By using a Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II document scanner and the PAMP bullion-positioning frame, or using the VERISCAN iPhone app (iPhone 6, 6S, or newer), anyone can scan a bar and have the VERISCAN software compare it to the topography stored in PAMP's database. This allows you to verify the authenticity of a bar without even removing it from its sealed packaging!
The iPhone app for VERISCAN will be available in April of this year. Note that the VERISCAN software can only verify PAMP Suisse gold bars that bear the VERISCAN® logo.
Another fast way to test any gold bar is by using the Precious Metals Verifier (PMV) from Sigma Metalytics. This handheld scanner has the metallic signatures of many different fineness levels of gold and silver products. It can even test platinum and palladium bullion. There is no damage to the coin or bar from testing, since it uses magnetic waves. It can even test certified coins sealed inside a hard plastic holder.
For more ways to guard against buying counterfeit precious metals, read our guide "Don't Be The Fool When Buying Gold." You'll learn such techniques as using a magnetic to detect ferrous (iron) metal cores of counterfeits, and the "ping" test for silver coins.
Of course, the best protection against counterfeits is to only buy from a precious metals distributor that professionally tests every item before offering it for sale.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product
Everett has been the head content writer and market analyst at Gainesville Coins since 2013. He has a background in History and is deeply interested in how gold and silver have historically fit into the financial system.