Buyers of physical gold and silver during the 2020 "Gold Rush" should be wary of potential counterfeits in the marketplace, mistaking plated "gold coins" for bullion products, and avoid overpaying for any purchases, cautions the Accredited Precious Metals Dealers (APMD www.APMDdealers.org) division of the nonprofit Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG www.PNGdealers.org).
"Adding gold, silver or platinum bullion coins or ingots to an investment portfolio can be a smart choice, but knowing your seller can be a crucial choice," advises PNG-APMD President Richard Weaver.
"If you don’t know gold, you’d better know your gold dealer."
Buyers should be cautious of an increase in counterfeit gold coins offered in the marketplace by unscrupulous sellers, and also beware of scam artists trying to lure investors with urgent claims of too-good-to-be-true low prices and quick, guaranteed bullion market profits.
"Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (www.ACEFonline.org) has identified over 100 websites selling counterfeit precious metals coins and ingots. Information about the suspected spurious sellers has been given to the U.S. Treasury Office of Inspector General, but buyers should always be prudent before making any purchases from unknown sellers," cautions Weaver.
He also advises investors seeking bullion to know that base metal replicas in the marketplace, often advertised as "tribute coins," may be merely plated or layered with just a microscopically thin coating of gold — only about $1 worth of actual precious metal.
"They may have limited secondary market value and should not be confused with genuine, legal tender gold bullion coins, such as the popular American Eagle or Canadian Maple Leaf," explains Weaver.
"To avoid potential scams, investors must know the credentials of the bullion dealer, not just what the dealer may tout in TV advertisements or on a fancy website," added Weaver.
All members of the Accredited Precious Metals Dealer program must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics (https://APMDdealers.org/apmd-code-of-ethics/) in the buying and selling of precious metals.
A list of APMD member-dealers is online at www.APMDddealers.org/apmd-dealers or call the Professional Numismatists Guild at 951-587-8300.