As online users, we are always at risk of being targeted by scams. And a new type of scam is making the rounds, specifically targeting gold coin buyers and sellers. Since the advent of online shopping and e-commerce, scammers have been finding new and innovative ways to separate users from their hard-earned money. One such scam that has been making the rounds lately is the gold coin scam, which targets unsuspecting online shoppers looking to buy a valuable item at a bargain price. Max Warren Barber, CEO of SION Trading Fze explains what you need to know about this scam so you can avoid becoming its next victim.
According to Max there are many reasons why people add gold to their portfolios; it’s a great way to diversify assets and reduce risk. That’s because gold’s value tends to go up when other investments go down.
There are also many ways to invest in gold: shares, certificates, exchange-traded funds and more. None of those, however, have the appeal of owning physical gold. With the help of a reputable coin dealer, you can purchase bullion coins at fair market prices.
Investing in gold coins and collecting gold coins, however, are two different things. While investors generally invest in bullion coins as a hedge against the economy, collectors tend to buy collectible coins for their rarity. It’s precisely that aesthetic and historical value that can spell trouble for collectible coins—and open the door for fraud.
“Because there’s so much subjectivity in the value of coins, it’s always ripe for deception,” Dama Brown, regional director of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) southwest division, told AARP The Magazine. And the people most at risk for coin scams, unfortunately, are older Americans. But what makes them so particularly susceptible?
The ACP calls it age-associated financial vulnerability, which affects older adult’s ability to manage personal finances. They may also be less knowledgeable of modern-day scams and be more trusting. And the fact that seniors are more likely to have nest eggs, own their homes, have excellent credit and be looking for safe investments, make them ideal marks for con artists.
What are some of the most prevalent coin scams? According to The Street, some of the most damaging gold coin scams include:
Most Common Gold Coin Scams
There are a lot of scams out there, but some are more common than others. Max Warren Barber discusses one specific type of scam that is especially common is schemes involving gold coins.
The Coin Grading Scam – Coin grade is what indicates a coin’s condition. While coins that are certified 70 are deemed virtually irreplaceable, coins certified MS70 have never been handled, are considered in “mint state” and even more valuable.
The Packaging Trick – The packaging may look good, but it can also act as a barrier. Shady dealers may use holders and packaging to prevent people from inspecting their coins. What looks like a pure gold coin behind layers of plastic may actually be a gold-copper alloy coin.
The Fake Coin – By fake, we don’t mean counterfeit gold, but the trafficking of coins that don’t even exist. Many people are fearful of holding a large amount of physical gold in their homes. A con artist will offer to store your coins for you (and charge a fee)—except there never were any gold coins. Seniors are especially vulnerable to these scams perpetrated over the phone.
If you are in the market for a new gold coin be sure to do your research before making a purchase. There are a lot of scams out there, and it’s easy to get taken advantage of if you’re not careful. Max Warren Barber says if you educate yourself and know some of the most common gold coin scams and how to avoid them, you can stay safe and keep happy shopping!
Tips for Buying Gold Coins
Luckily, avoiding gold coin scams is easy. We recommend these tips to anyone purchasing gold coins:
- Don’t believe everything you hear. If a dealer tells you they will buy back your coins at more than what you paid, or that grading is guaranteed, they’re not being truthful.
- Get a second opinion. This is especially true when it comes to the grade and value of your coins. Before you even purchase a coin, make sure you understand the dealer’s return and refund policy.
- Be wary of grading certificates and slabs. Your best bet is to check your coin’s grade with an independent source.
- Take possession of your coins. If you don’t, you may never know if they actually exist.
The best thing you can do to avoid falling prey to a gold coin scam is to buy from a reputable dealer. How long has the company been in business? Are they a member of a professional organization? Check out their credentials–don’t just trust their claims.
And above all, don’t succumb to high-pressure sales tactics. If something’s too good to be true, it probably is.