ST. LOUIS – The FBI in St. Louis is getting reports almost every week regarding a scam involving gold and targeting the elderly’s life savings. 

FOX 2 has learned there’s an ongoing crackdown here and across the United States. 

The FBI of St. Louis has even set up sting operations in St. Louis City and County in a couple of recent cases. In the county case, agents intercepted a scammer who had set up a meeting with the victim, who had been ready to hand over her precious gold.

“A courier just flew in that day, into St. Louis, caught an Uber over to the location where we were set up,” Dave Herr, Acting Assistant Special Agent In Charge, FBI-St. Louis, said. “When he exited the Uber, we arrested him.”

Authorities say victims typically get bogus pop-up messages on phones, tablets, or computers, telling them to convert cash from their bank accounts into more trustworthy gold coins or bars because their bank accounts have been hacked.  

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Scammers convince victims that they, the scammers, will keep the gold for them in a safe place.  The scammers arrange a meeting or send a courier to pick up the gold.

The conversion to gold makes it easier for scammers to steal large sums in small packages. 

A handful of 1-ounce gold coins can easily be worth $10,000. The conversion also helps sell victims on the scam.

“If you just say, ‘Go get $10,000 out of your bank account and give me the $10,000,’ that may raise more flags than if you say, ‘Hey, in order to really secure it, we’re going to have you convert it into gold,’” Herr said. “Hang up the phone and call your bank back. 99 times out of 100, it’s going to be a scam because banks are not going to call you and ask for all that information or for you to liquidate your account or anything like that…gold bars are a lot easier to get out of the country than somebody trying to move thousands of dollars of U.S. currency…once that happens, it’s darned near impossible to get that money back.” 

We all need to be more vigilant, especially for elderly loved ones, he said.

When it comes to your money or theirs, remember the phrase, “if there’s doubt, check it out”.