Surges in the price of gold have made the commodity seem like an attractive alternative to more volatile markets. 1st American Reserve wants you to know that while there are many reputable dealers in gold, this market’s desirability and investment potential makes it vulnerable to fraudulent business practices.
If you have been thinking about buying or selling rare coins or bullion products containing precious metal, Dr. Fuljenz, 1st American Reserve Numismatic Consultant, has three words for you: research, research, research. Before entering into a transaction, you need to research the background of the coin dealer including how long they have been in business and their Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. You should also independently verify the dealer’s membership and status in leading industry organizations like being a Numismatic Guaranty Corporation Authorized Dealer. It is a good sign if the dealer has won any industry awards or served on any industry boards. This advice applies to all transactions whether done by phone, in person, online or by mail.
Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim of fraud:
· If a dealer does not pay you, return your coins or deliver your purchased product in 30 days or less, you may have been a victim of fraud. Don’t Delay Action!
· Do not respond to callers not previously contacted. Cold callers often are not registered in Texas to legally telemarket and often try to pressure customers to act quickly.
· Use credit cards for first transactions, as credit card companies offer extended fraud protection.
· Do not do business with a dealer who guarantees your purchases are totally safe, will go up in value or can’t go down, stresses government gold confiscation or says he will buy them back for what you paid at any time.
· Counterfeit coins and bars as well as counterfeit grading service holders are a possibly risk, especially with online transactions. Verify your dealer is an expert in counterfeit detection.
· Be wary of Home Storage IRA plans, as these have not been thoroughly tested with the U.S. Treasury or IRS. Stick with reputable independent custodians.
· Reduce theft risk by storing your coins in a financial institution’s safety deposit box. That institution would also be a safe place to meet buyers/appraisers. Do not allow a relatively unknown dealer/appraiser to remove coins from your sight.
· Make sure that any dealers with whom you do qualifying precious metal business are registered with the State of Texas and, when required, their city.
· Watch out for false grading claims. All grading services are not the same. The two most popular are the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).
· Don’t allow strangers to take your coins for a free appraisal or certification.
· Be careful selling to itinerant dealers who set up in hotels or in temporary locations. They often pay much less to customers.
· Keep notes and all receipts, documents, correspondence and shipping records regarding transactions. Require all terms and conditions of transactions be in writing.
· If you allow a dealer to come to your home, be cautious and have a second person there for the appointment.
· Be wary of uncertified coins offered by vendors in flea markets or other venues where the seller is not a verifiable coin expert. Too often, coins offered there are overvalued, cleaned or counterfeit.
By issuing this important consumer protection advisory, 1st American Reserve is not only assisting Lone Star state residents but providing nationwide benefits to the public who can access this useful information online,