Tag Archives: disaster

GoldSilver.com Video: ‘How To Store Silver Bars And Coins At Home’

Long-time readers of Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes might remember an April 22, 2014, blog post mentioning Mike Maloney of GoldSilver.com, a global leader in gold and silver sales and one of the world’s most highly regarded investment education companies since 2005. The founder and owner had just come out with a video in which he warned precious metals are not safe being stored in a bank safe deposit box.

These days, Maloney and gang are out with a new “how-to” video which readers might be interested in viewing. In “How To Store Silver Bars And Coins At Home,” senior precious metals analyst Jeff Clark and Mike Maloney tackle the following questions:

1. “So how do we store our silver bullion both efficiently and safely?”
2. “And should it be stored at home anyway?”

Storing silver in bank safe deposit boxes and at private, non-bank vaults is also addressed. From the video:

Should We Use a Bank Safe Deposit Box?

Easy, simple, and relatively inexpensive- those are the advantages to using a safe deposit box at your local bank. But, consider the drawbacks:

-Your access is restricted. You can only get to the bullion during regular banking hours. No evening, weekend, or holiday access. In fact, during 9/11, some banks were closed for a period of time.
-No insurance against robbery or disaster. Think about the customers whose safe deposit boxes were washed away with the tsunami in Japan in 2011.
-Lack of privacy. If the government or an aggressive attorney comes after you, they’ll thank you for the generous clue you provided them of where some of your assets are stored.
-Also, silver takes up so much space that you’d likely be forced to pay for a larger box. And it might not be an option at all. A monster box of silver is too big for most bank safe deposit boxes.

Remember, one reason we own physical bullion is to protect against the banking system. If you go this route, be aware of the risks and only place a small portion of your metal there.

What About a Professional, Third Party Vaulting Service?

Once your stash starts to grow, I recommend you consider professional storage. Your risk grows as you accumulate more metal. You don’t want to be wiped out if something happened to your stash at home.

The keys to professional storage are that your metal be held:

1. Outside the banking system
2. Fully segregated or allocated in your name
3. Fully insured, and
4. Easy online access…

“How To Store Silver Bars & Coins At Home- Mike Maloney”
(Bank/private vault discussion begins at 11:36)
YouTube Video

A nicely-done production by Clark and Maloney.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

(Editor’s note: The mention of entities marketing themselves as precious metals dealers/educators should not be construed as confirmation of services claimed to be provided or any sort of recommendation. A qualified professional should be consulted prior to taking any action- financial or otherwise- based on information found in this weblog. If this recommendation is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

Maloney’s book on gold/silver investing…


Ecuador President Announces One-Time Tax On Millionaires, Workers After Earthquake

From an Associated Press article on the Fox News Latino website Thursday:

President Rafael Correa announced Wednesday night that he is raising sales taxes and will charge a one-time levy on millionaires to rebuild cities devastated by Ecuador’s worst earthquake in decades…

Using authority granted by the state of emergency he declared after Saturday night’s quake, Correa said sales taxes would increase to 14 percent from 12 percent for the coming year.

People with more than $1 million in assets will be charged a one-time tax of 0.9 percent on their wealth, while workers earning over $1,000 a month will be forced to contribute a day’s wages and those earning $5,000 a month the equivalent of five days’ pay.

Taxes on companies will also go up…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A “just” tax in the aftermath of a natural disaster? Wealth confiscation for a “just cause”? Just plain wealth confiscation?

Spanish international news agency Agencia EFE reported on the Fox News Latino site back on March 20 the Ecuadorian government was already seeking to hike taxes prior to the quake. From that piece:

Ecuador’s government is working on a reform package that will raise the taxes on cigarettes, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks to cover the budget deficit created by the drop in the price of oil, the Andean nation’s top export product, President Rafael Correa said.

“The price of petroleum keeps dropping” and the government must make “certain adjustments,” Correa said during his weekly show on Saturday…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Sin tax” hikes. Sounds like what’s routinely proposed/passed in my neck of the woods (Chicago).

If Ecuador follows through with this tax on millionaires and workers, some will be wondering if other governments won’t be following its implementation closely to serve as a model for a future “state of emergency” of their own.

Like a sovereign debt crisis, for example.

At the same time, I wonder what this could mean for bank safe deposit boxes (I don’t know of any private, non-bank safe deposit box facilities in Ecuador)? Will Ecuadorian government officials inspect secured containers belonging to suspected millionaires/millionaires suspected of under-reporting the value of their assets, in an attempt to ensure compliance with the announced tax levy?

Would box holders find themselves in a situation similar to what was announced in Greece last fall?

I blogged back on November 6, 2015:

Just when the reputation of bank safe deposit boxes couldn’t get any worse comes this out of Greece. Anthee Carasavva reported on The Times (UK) website back on October 12:

Greece’s government is raiding savers’ safe deposit boxes to raise revenue and stamp out tax evasion.

Tryfon Alexiadis, the deputy finance minister, said yesterday that Greeks owing more than €150,000 in back taxes would be targeted. Those suspected of tax evasion would also come under scrutiny and their bank deposit boxes prised open without notice

“Safe deposit boxes across the country will be subject to these inspections immediately,” Mr Alexiadis told an Athens-based TV network…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I added later:

Regarding that bit about tax evasion suspects, Mark Yaxley of Cayman Islands private vault Strategic Wealth Preservation penned back on October 20:

The government’s justification is that they’re chasing tax evaders, stating that they’re targeting those who owe more than €150,000 in back taxes. However, they have also revealed that they will target any boxes held by those who are “suspected” of tax evasion and, since literally anyone can become a suspect at any moment, without having to be charged with a crime, inspectors will have the authorisation to decide on the spot that a box holder is “suspected” of tax evasion

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It was reported Greek tax inspectors would be allowed to open bank safe deposit boxes and confiscate as much as half of the cash they found. Stocks, bonds, jewelry, and works of art would be confiscated in their entirety.

Stay tuned…

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)


“Ecuador to hike sales tax to help rebuild cities devastated by earthquake.” Associated Press. 21 Apr. 2016. (http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2016/04/21/ecuador-to-hike-sales-tax-to-help-rebuild-cities-devastated-by-earthquake/?intcmp=obinsite). 21 Apr. 2016.

“Ecuador plans to hike taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and soft drinks.” Agencia EFE. 20 Mar. 2016. (http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2016/03/20/ecuador-plans-to-hike-taxes-on-cigarettes-alcohol-and-soft-drinks/). 21 Apr. 2016.


RockSafe Private Vault Opens In Malaysia

Just like St. James’ Safe Deposit in Leeds, England, there’s been another non-bank, private vault I’ve followed for some time that’s now opened its doors. Enter RockSafe, located in Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah in Malaysia. From the Daily Express (Malaysia) on March 15:

Another safe deposit service has debuted with Rocksafe Sdn Bhd (a member of the SriKom group of companies) launching of its Safe Deposit Box rental services on Saturday.

According to Srikom group Chief Executive Officer Hiew Chee Fah, the opening of this new service marks a new milestone for the group.

He said being in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Service industry for nearly 40 years, it was natural for them to combine ICT and Vault Security System together to offer new Customer Care Services in safe deposit box rental to a wider range of customers including the public.

“Most importantly, the community deserves a secure convenient and affordable safe deposit box service. This is because many small families cannot afford to have a safe-box.

“So we have priced our small safe-box for the small families so they can afford. Many of my friends had their homes broken into and valuables stolen including irreplaceable heirloom jewellery passed down to them from their parents. Very sad to hear there are many stories like this…

Hiew said most of the small families, if they applied to the bank for a safety deposit box, usually the bank will require them to provide some form of fixed deposit.

“Some require RM100,000, some RM200,000 and some even RM300,000 in fixed deposits. Then you are entitled to rent a safety box from the bank. So small families generally would not have this kind of money to spare…

Nice to see RockSafe offering a very valuable service to local residents with limited financial resources.

A lot of effort looks to have been spent on planning this new East Malaysian private vault- particularly in the areas of security, accessibility, and disaster resistance. Concerning security, Vesta Vanessa Jsol reported in the New Sabah Times (Malaysia) on March 15:

RockSafe adheres to Class-A of United States army’s vaults which are used to store top secret documents.

“We choose the best,” Hiew said, adding that RockSafe’s location in an independent building reduces the likelihood of thievery access by tunneling…

Secure access was touched on by Hiew in that Daily Express piece:

Rocksafe also provides its customers convenience with an under-roof covered security car park with barely 30 steps to their Rocksafe office.

We have a guard in the car park and one in the building. Within 30 steps, you have two guards so the risk is minimised. Fear not when bringing in and taking out your valuables from our safe boxes.

The non-bank vault also offers convenient access to out-of-town customers. From the New Sabah Times article:

The building is located at the prime area within nine minutes to Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA)Terminal 1 and seven minutes to Terminal 2…

Finally, there’s this on the RockSafe website concerning the disaster-resistant qualities of the facility:

[RockSafe] is not just located at a flood free zone but also simulated to be unaffected by rising sea levels up to 2 meters.

I have a feeling more emphasis will be placed on disaster survival than in years past concerning the planning/construction of new vaulting facilities.

You can visit the RockSafe website here for more information. Note the following promotion going on at the vault for the remained of this month:

FREE PURE SILVER COIN with a Medium, Large or Jumbo safe deposit box rental in March

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)


“New safe deposit service.” Daily Express. 15 Mar. 2015. (http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=97976). 23 Mar. 2015.

Jsol, Vesta Vanessa. “Rocksafe: Military grade safety.” New Sabah Times. 15 Mr. 2015. (http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/print/85608). 23 Mar. 2015.


Google Halts ‘Non-Bank Safe Deposit Boxes’ Search, Cites ‘Unusual Traffic’

Last year around this time, I was using Google’s search engine to populate this blog’s sister site with private vault facility links when a page popped up warning that my queries were suspicious activity and I had to enter a code displayed on the screen in order to proceed.

Something similar happened during that last quarterly update of Offshore Private Vaults. I had queried “non-bank safe deposit boxes” on Google.com when I was taken to a page which read:

Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network. This page checks to see if it’s really you sending the requests, and not a robot. Why did this happen?

This page appears when Google automatically detects requests coming from your computer network which appear to be in violation of the Terms of Service. The block will expire shortly after those requests stop. In the meantime, solving the above CAPTCHA will let you continue to use our services…

Did my search engine usage really resemble that of a “robot”? Or was Google displeased I was investigating offshore asset protection-related material? My thoughts about the incident remain the same as they did a year ago. I blogged on March 5, 2014:

Funny. In all those years I worked in government, I conducted countless searches on Google via my employers’ computers and on their behalf that one might think would raise a red flag or two- mass shootings, terrorism, Al-Qaeda, “American Hiroshima,” “nuclear suitcases,” effects of a 10-megaton nuclear weapon detonation, public water supply contamination from radioactive fallout, and so on and so forth- and I never encountered a “suspicious activity” screen like that.

This incident might make one wonder- Considering the day of the secret Swiss bank account is done and gone, is it really “suspicious” that U.S. citizens would inquire about offshore private safe deposit boxes because they live/study/work overseas and require such a service (but bank boxes aren’t available), desire geographic diversification of lawfully-obtained assets per the advice of their financial/investment advisers, or hope to protect valuables and other items of importance from what they see as potential threats (wealth confiscation via the banking system, widespread man-made/natural disasters) in these tumultuous times?

Oh well. No use getting worked up over this incident as Google is a private sector entity and they have the right to throw up a roadblock to what they consider suspicious activity. Still, I’d hate to abandon their search engine as their query results are pretty comprehensive and are a big help in populating Offshore Private Vaults with new entries.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)


Canada’s CUBE: ‘Disaster-Resistant’ Secured Storage, Private Vault

The other week, while researching offshore private vaults that I could add to this blog’s sister site, I came across a secured storage facility in Canada that really caught my attention. Enter CUBE Global Storage Ltd., or CUBE. From their website under “Our Facility”:

Our facility in Victoria, British Columbia is purpose-built for the secure storage of items, documents and data, including high-tech security equipment and highly trained secure-information specialists…

Okay. A “purpose-built” secured storage facility. And its security- “camera surveillance, biometric readers, offsite monitoring and dedicated vault systems”- while impressive, isn’t exactly pioneering. But if one reads on:

It’s also a designated disaster recovery site, where space can be provided for you to run your business during or after any potentially catastrophic event, such as server failure, theft, fire, earthquake or tsunami

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“A designated disaster recovery site.” CUBE isn’t kidding. Also from that “Our Facility” page:

Impenetrable structure

• Designated as a complete post-disaster recovery facility
• Designed to withstand hurricane force winds up to 135km/h
• Designed to withstand a 9.5 magnitude earthquake
• Elevation – 35 metres above sea level – is beyond the reach of any tsunami
• Foundation built on solid igneous rock, 22km deep
• Solid concrete and steel (I-Beam) construction
• Roof immune to strong winds, intense rain, and heavy snow loads
• No natural gas lines present within 150 metres of the building

Sophisticated communications

• Multi-faceted network designed to maintain continuous communication whatever the situation
• Critical, constant communications support for the data centre and disaster recovery operations ensuring network uptimes of minimum 99.9%
• Multiple-carrier network connections provide redundant paths needed to virtually eliminate the risk of interruptions
• Communication links to the building via fibre optic, wireless and twisted pair
• Attached to BC Government network
• VHF, UHF, HAM radio, and satellite communications-ready

Advanced security

• 24hr offsite monitoring
• Advanced camera surveillance system constantly observing the building inside and out
• All surveillance footage archived for later scrutiny
• Vibration, motion, and glass break sensors continually verifying the security of the facility
• Access via secure proximity cards and biometric readers
• Class 2 vault complex
• Obligatory, full police background checks performed for all staff
• Onsite visitors escorted at all times

Fire detection/suppression

• Sophisticated fire detection system monitored 24 hrs to enable immediate intervention
• Zoned system delivers fire suppression to affected areas only
• Pre-actioned, vacuum charged sprinkler system, means no chance of accidental damage caused from pipes leaking or rupturing
• Waterless clean agent fire suppression – CO2 and Novec 1230 – in data centre and vault complex
• Strict preventative policies and procedures virtually eliminate the chance of fire

Continuous power

• Infrastructure in place, with comprehensive redundant failovers, to ensure uninterruptable service
• Multiple UPS units providing clean, continuous power to sensitive data centre equipment
• Multiple onsite diesel back-up generators
• Sufficient fuel reserves for continuous power generation
• Onsite inventory of replacement parts

Emergency preparedness

• Facility designed and provisioned to be entirely self-sufficient for extended periods of time
• Onsite reserves of fuel, rations, cots, and chemical toilets
• Transport Canada certified rooftop heliport
• Helicopter access to the facility for staff, clients and supplies in the event that roads are impassable
• Allocated boat access to and from Vancouver Island for staff, clients, and supplies in the event that Victoria International Airport and BC Ferries services are interrupted

It’s obvious that significant and meticulous planning went into this project. Just one thing though. Responding to my e-mail inquiry, the facility noted this in its January 30 reply:

CUBE has segregated vault storage not safety deposit boxes. Items are stored in a vault with specific place designated to each customer.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

No safety deposit boxes. Interesting. Especially when “valuable assets storage” is one of the services CUBE provides. From their site:

High-security, short- and long-term storage for all types of valuable and/or appreciating assets, including artwork, stamps and coins, jewellery, and investment metals.

I can understand artwork, but if I owned those other valuables mentioned and was looking to store them in a private vault, I, for one, would prefer that extra level of security (and privacy?) a safe deposit box might offer.

While CUBE Global Storage Ltd. isn’t listed on Offshore Private Vaults (safe deposit boxes have to offered at a minimum), it still looks to be an impressive operation. While that disaster recovery for outside parties component might not be too useful for the private vaulting industry, current and future operators could still glean a thing or two from CUBE’s setup.

For more information, you can visit the Canadian facility’s website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)