Last year, Brian Gurl spent some time reading about the state of the U.S. economy.
He kept hearing about the gargantuan size of the federal debt and the threat of inflation on TV. Gurl is approaching retirement age, so he and his wife needed safe investments. The couple decided on gold.
"We approached several companies. But it was American Precious Metals who were the most aggressive," said Gurl, who invested about $100,000 with the company last Fall. "They just sounded very expert."
In the span of a few months, the couple lost about $60,000, Gurl said.
What makes this a bit of a tricky area is the fact that some investigations are politically motivated. Real fraud artists know it, and are quick to compare themselves to a company or individual that's been leaned on for political purposes.
The best guide is asking yourself, "is this too good to be true?" Scam artists have a pattern of claiming that the mark won't - or can't - lose any money. The fact is, losing money in gold is quite possible. A legitimate investment firm will acknowledge this fact without being prompted to do so.