Purchasing gold online is a great way to build your collection or find unique pieces, but without the right precautions, online buyers can get scammed and may end up with fake gold from sellers looking for easy profits.

Here are some common-sense tips for buying gold in online auctions:

Clues That Gold Items Pictured Online Are Real

Gold items, particularly jewelry, are marked with hallmarks that indicate the item is real gold. In the United States, hallmarks often take the form of a discreet imprint in the metal that provides karat designation. Common stamps include 14K and 24K, for example; the higher the number, the purer the metal. For example a 24K gold coin is 99.99 percent gold.

Brands also mark jewelry, coins and collectibles. Look for clear pictures of items in online auctions that show the hallmark or brand stamps. If these indicators aren’t visible, request a picture or avoid buying the item.

Only Buy From Reputable Sellers

Buy from online auction houses and sellers with good reputations. Look at the history of items sold, as auction sites and sellers that regularly offer gold items, and don’t have buyer complaints about fake gold, are probably offering the real thing.

Buyers should also look for return policies. If the item purchased doesn’t meet the expectations set by the auction, it’s nice to know you can return it.

Vetting Gold Coins And Jewelry After Receipt

Inspect gold items closely and carefully immediately after receiving them. One easy way to test for gold content is to hold the item to a magnet; gold isn’t magnetic, so jewelry or coins with a high gold content won’t be attracted.

Buyers should also check that the item received is the same pictured in the auction. Count stones, measure and weigh the item, and double-check that all the appropriate hallmarks and logos are present.

Using common sense, buyers can safely purchase gold items online. Remember that too-good-to-be true deals could be scams, and work with reputable online auction sites for the best results. U.S. Auction Online fully guarantees their descriptions and if there are any errors or discrepancies we will accept a return on the item.