The European bank and financial services company Societe Generale predicts that gold could surge as much as 500 percent in the near future. Of course, with an increase in value comes an increase in fraud.

“Societe Generale is ‘enthusiastic on gold’ — so much so that in their latest cross-asset strategy report, they call ‘buy gold ahead of QE3′ their number one strategy, saying it’s ‘the perfect asset to benefit’ from additional loose monetary policy,” writes Business Insider’s Matthew Boesler.

One of the reasons SocGen is so confident that gold will increase in value is because of the historical relationship between the price of gold and the U.S. monetary base. The European bank states that “if gold catches up with the increase in the monetary base since 1920 (as it did in the early 80s), its price would rise to USD 8500/Oz,” and that just “to close the gap with the monetary base increase since July 2007, gold would have to rise to $1,900/oz, assuming full transmission from the monetary base increase to the gold price.”

The SocGen report continues:

Buy gold, while hedging the implicit USD exposure. Gold is back to the lower band of the trading range of the past year. It is also the commodity that benefits most from the Fed’s unconventional monetary policies. As a result, we are strong overweight gold ahead of QE3 and expect its price to challenge $1,800 before the end of the year. Timeline of the call: 3-6 months.

If financial services company is correct, and gold skyrockets in value, you better believe scam artists will want a piece of the action.

For instance, Dolly Dubard, a former employee of the gold buying firm THR and Associates, which has been accused of dirty dealings, claims that her former employers trained and encouraged employees to “mislead” customers about the true value of their gold, according to CBS San Francisco.

“I think a lot of managers did think it was ok to lie,” she said.

When CBS staged a nationwide undercover operation, they caught THR repeatedly lying about the quality of the gold they were dealing with.

“Dubard said [employees] were instructed to buy gold at less than 10 percent of value, a practice confirmed by a THR back pocket buying guide,” CBS San Fran reports.

A CBS producer at a Dallas gold show was told that their 18-karat gold was worth 14 while another in Boston was told the same thing.

“When CBS producers try to sell an 18K gold bangle bracelet at one of THR’s traveling gold buying road shows, they’re told it’s only 14 carats and offered cheap money for a sale,” according to the report.

“We hit a show at the Hampton Inn in Dover, New Hampshire in April. We walked in with almost $6,300 worth of gold and walked out with a check for just over $1100, less than one fifth of its value,” the report adds.

“Everybody knows gold is expensive right now. There are a lot of companies out there trying to buy gold. Without making any sweeping generalizations it doesn’t surprise me that people would try to turn that to their advantage,” said Dover, NH, Police Lieutenant Brant Dolleman.

Bottom line: gold is already remarkably valuable and it may skyrocket in the near future. Don’t go anywhere near a buyer unless you know something about his business ethic and make sure you know what you’re talking about.

Otherwise, you might as well paint a giant target on your forehead.