Tuesday, April 12, 2011

As Gold And Silver Climb, Scams Running Rampant

Gold's and silver's long-term bull markets, complete with the recent press both have gotten, have resulted in easier sells for gold-related investments. Sadly but inevitably, scam artists have gotten in to the act too. Erin E. Arvedlund, in an article discussing a recently-exploded Ponzi scheme, provides some tips to avoid getting scammed:
Here are some telltale signs of commodities fraud:

Predictions or guarantees of large profits.

Promises of little or no financial risk. Be suspicious if the firm or individual says there is little risk or tells you that a written risk-disclosure statement is only a routine formality.

Unsolicited telephone calls about investing. Be skeptical if someone you don't know calls you about investment opportunities.

Someone asking you to send cash immediately.

Although she doesn't mention it, a Google search on a the name of all the principals of an exciting scheme will reveal eye-opening information if one of them is an experienced scam-monger.

Scams are even infecting the numismatic coin market. A Minnesota company calling itself Reputable Rare Coins (of all things) has been cold-calling gold coin holders for a trading scheme in which a representative offers to trade old gold coins for ones of different denominations - e.g., two $10 coins for one $20 coin. Once the victims sent in their coins, they never got anything back.
[A search-warrant affidavit filed by the police] said Roseville police have received 14 complaints from coin collectors around the United States about Reputable Rare Coins, alleging losses of gold coins totaling more than $500,000.

The affidavit also said a former employee of Reputable Rare Coins told police Hughes would arrange for his victims to ship their coins to the company through the U.S. mail or Federal Express with no intention of shipping back the agreed-upon coins.

The employee told police that Hughes uses the proceeds from sales of coins sent to Reputable Rare Coins to buy narcotics and to gamble at Minnesota casinos, the affidavit said....
Again, dealing with a stranger over the phone led to grief.

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