There are some high quality rare coins available; however, there are plenty of con artists too. With this in mind, your best protection would be to research coins you are asked to purchase. Careful buyers spend some time before buying just one coin. Additionally, researching dealers is also mandatory to ensure success.
Steps to Take
When being solicited to invest in coins, the following steps should be taken to prevent from being conned:
• Use common sense with investment claims, and don’t rush into purchasing. As the saying goes- anything sounding too good to be true is usually not true.
• Before sending money or authorizing a credit card transaction, know the reliability and reputation of the dealer.
• Don’t just take the dealer’s word that he/she will purchase back the coins for at least the price paid or his/her promise of guaranteed grading unless you are certain the dealer has the financial resources to back up these promises.
• Getting a second opinion from another source concerning the value and grade immediately upon receiving the coins is wise unless you have the remedies in case your second opinion disagrees.
• Use an independent source to evaluate the grades of any coins bought. Slabs and grading certificates can be tricky these days because third party grading services slab or encapsulate coins in an acrylic holder that has a grading number.
• Shop around several dealers before buying because prices in addition to grades should be considered. Checking prices in sight unseen trading networks or leading coin publications is great to ensure you are not getting overcharged.
• Make sure the coins purchased exist by taking possession of them and keeping them properly stored.
• Always be wary of giving credit card information to strangers for any consumer purchase especially over the phone.
Identifying Fraudulent Sellers
Fraudulent sellers of bullion and rare coins have become very crafty in dealing with consumers. Nowadays, they have all the makings of a legitimate and reputable company. They have elegant offices in the major cities’ financial districts; they appear to employ so-called investment counselors, account executives, and coin experts; they have claims to be the finest or largest dealers in business; and they use various techniques that legitimate dealers use, such as advertising in magazines and newspapers. More of them are even using telemarketing or multi-level marketing schemes to lure consumers. Knowing this, it will behoove any consumer to due their due diligence in researching through the various agencies, like the Better Business Bureau. Also, it’s always important to check on any information given by these sellers.
Where to Get Help
If there is a problem with a coin dealer who won’t resolve the problem satisfactorily, there are numerous places that can help you. Resolving disputes can be done for some dealers through a binding arbitration of an independent third party. These are usually a professional organization. Also, consumer protection agencies would get your complaint information to build cases against these type of sellers, and they would give you sound advice on how to proceed. Also, the majority of coin organizations will help you if the dealer is one their members. Other than that, the government agencies and organizations that can help include the following:
• Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA)- is a safeguard for the precious metals, rare coins, and paper money industry.
• The Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG)- a membership across the U.S. and abroad of leading professional numismatists
• The Better Business Bureau (BBB)- checks out any company’s status within the local/state area.
• Your state consumer protection agency- advocates of consumer rights within the area
• Your Attorney General’s Office- serves as advocates for anyone in the state, such as children, older citizens, and consumer rights.
• The U.S. Postal Inspector- safeguards against all criminal activity involving mail, email, and exporting.
• The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)- protects consumers of America.
Lisa Patterson enjoys sharing her investment tactics online. She has been hustling, investigating & strategizing on various investment opportunities. Her articles mainly appear on investment websites.