Generally when scrap prices go up, people in the scrap industry are happy. Everyone makes more money, unless you lose money because of thieves, which can be common when scrap prices are high.
Desperate Times, Call for Desperate Measures
When scrap prices are low, there are daily reports of scrap metal thefts around the world. Unfortunately, when people are desperate for money to feed themselves and their family, pay bills, cloth themselves, or other things, they will do anything to get money. This is also true when it comes to the scrap metal theft.
Due to the cash business of scrap metal, many desperate people use it as a way to make cash by stealing scrap from others. Whether thieves are stealing AC window units, detaching copper wires from houses or transformers, cutting down gutters, ripping out guard rails, cutting catalytic converters off cars, or other methods, they will always find a way to steal scrap.
A large problem is when the prices on scrap commodities are going up, it seems like the frequency of the scrap metal theft reports, rise along with the prices. Many thieves catch wind of the rising prices and look a little harder to make an extra buck.
With some of the current scrap metal legislation in affect, many states are required to take a copy of state-issued ID when buying scrap metal, as well as take picture of the material coming into the yard. In cooperation with the authorities, scrap yards can then provide accurate information about sellers when there is an issue that arises in the community.
Short of hiring a bodyguard (which most larger scrap yards do) to watch your scrap, there are many tips and suggestions to keep scrap to yourself and protect yourself from losing money to these thieves:
Trust No One - As funny as it sounds, it’s completely true. If you have a large quantity of scrap metal, like copper pipe, wires, brass, aluminum, or any other higher price commodity, don’t tell anyone. Even if you trust your friend “Bob” with your life, you never know when someone can become so desperate and take advantage of you.
Lock It Down - If you have scrap that you are collecting and not ready to bring to the scrap yard, be sure to lock it or store it in a secure location. Whether it is in your garage, locked backyard shed, enclosed trailer, or even in the back of your locked truck, be sure to find a good place that isn’t out in the open, inviting any thief to stop by and grab some.
Cash It In – One of the best options when the prices are up, is to cash it in, for numerous reasons. By cashing in your scrap, you make yourself less of a target of theft and decrease your chance of being robbed. By cashing your scrap in when prices are high, it can be a blessing in disguise especially if the prices drop suddenly. Yes, the prices can continue to rise, but just like gambling you can cash in with guaranteed winnings or lose it all waiting for things to look up.
Deliver On Site – If you are away at a job and ripping out a lot of scrap like copper pipe, wires, or aluminum, don’t go back home or to your business. While on the road from your latest job, find a trusted scrap yard with the iScrap App in your area and bring your scrap to cash in, that way you don’t have to worry about storing it overnight.
Make sure to pay attention to the scrap prices in your area, if things start to look good, cash in or lock down your scrap. Don’t let your hard work and time bite you in the butt for being unaware.
Thanks to Virginia Buechel and the iScrap team for all the information they provide to scrappers everywhere.