A Long Island, New York investor mistakenly thought he could make a quick profit of at least several hundred dollars on an online purchase of coins from a vendor he found advertising at www.Walmart.com.
Instead, the unsuspecting buyer unhappily learned all ten of the "American Silver Eagle" coins he received are fakes, according to the nonprofit Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (www.ACEFonline.org).
"The ACEF has notified Walmart and the Secret Service about the advertiser, and he is under investigation; however, bad actors selling counterfeit rare coins and fake gold and silver bullion coins online frequently change company names and websites," cautioned Doug Davis, ACEF Anti-Counterfeiting Director.
"We’ve seen suspicious ads posted on many platforms, including Amazon and Facebook. We now are tracking more than 300 websites selling fakes, many of them apparently operated by the same individuals or companies, but often under different company names. Some even copy the exact wording and actual photos from legitimate dealers’ web pages," explained Davis, a former Texas Police Chief.
Genuine United States Mint-produced American Silver Eagle bullions each contain one ounce of silver and may sell for perhaps 20 percent over the current price of silver. The Long Island investor mistakenly thought he was getting a great bargain when he paid a total of only $26.16, including tax, to purchase all ten of what the seller claimed were "silver coins."
The advertisement even promised the coins would be accompanied by a "Certificate of Authenticity from the US Mint."
Thinking he could get perhaps $300 or more for the ten items, the buyer learned they were counterfeits when he tried to sell them to a local Long Island coin dealer.
As a good faith gesture, the dealer purchased all ten of the bogus coins for the exact amount the investor originally paid, then submitted all the fakes to Davis at the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation along with copies of the investor’s purchase documents.
As part of their ongoing probes of suspected fraud, investigators with the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force make purchases from websites suspected of selling counterfeit coins and precious metals.
"In one recent purchase, we ordered three advertised American Eagle silver coins for $7.99 each from a Walmart.com seller. As is typical of many suspect sellers on social media and other websites, the advertiser wanted to appear legitimate by requesting payment using PayPal. The coins received were professionally tested for authenticity and they were below the weight of United States Mint standards and were magnetic. Genuine examples are not magnetic," explained Davis.
Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation experts warn that the quality of many counterfeits is quite good and easily can deceive buyers who are not experienced with coins and precious metal bullion items.
"Counterfeiters and their accomplices are heavily marketing fakes through social media and websites that may promise genuine merchandise but deliver counterfeits. Every day, ACTF investigators locate suspected websites selling counterfeit coins and precious metals, preying on unsuspecting victims," said Davis.
"Remember, if you don’t know precious metals or rare coins, you’d better know a reputable seller, such as experts affiliated with the Accredited Precious Metals Dealer program (www.APMDdealers.org) or the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.org). Members of both PNG and APMD must follow a strict code of ethics in the buying and selling of numismatic merchandise," Davis advised.
"The important work of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation and its volunteer task force of rare coin and precious metals experts is supported entirely by donations," explained ACEF Executive Director Robert Brueggeman. "The ACEF is a 501(c)(3) corporation, and all donations are tax deductible."
For additional information, contact the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation by phone at 817-723-7231, by email info@ACEFonline.org,or visit the website at www.ACEFonline.org.
Good thing you can avoid fake American Silver Eagle bullion coins, by being able to buy direct from the US Mint, as Legislators mandated selling “to the public”.
The US Mint does not sell American Eagle bullion coins directly to the public. They only sell to Authorized Purchasers.
I think you missed his sarcasm, Major D (the meme).
You’re right Jeff. Went over my head. My bad!
Don’t feel bad, Major D. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve for whatever reason happened to takes jokes seriously on here. 😉
Let’s get ready to rumbbbbbbbblllllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!
I am not an authorized dealer but have been on the us mints loyalty program for years. I get all new coinage on the enrollment program. Before theyre released to the public. Just join their loyalty program.
Every US Mint survey I get Caliskier I suggest Mint sell bullion direct to any consumer. I am sure I am not the only one who makes this request to the Mint.
Other countries sell bullion direct to consumer and US Mint should follow suit.
I agree with you 100%, Chris Terp. Clearly the biggest hindrances to that ever even having a chance of happening are the very effective efforts of the deep-pocketed lobbyists for the big bullion distributors who make sure to sufficiently fill the re-election coffers of the members of Congress who vote on this matter.
While I commend ACEF for all that they do, the reality is that China has fully functional coinage presses with the ability to create working dies of ANY coin and strike them. This has been known for many, many years and only when the United States government gets involved, which they have not despite knowing, will this stop at least in the shear volume flooding into the country on a daily basis. When the average U.S. consumer buys 99% of their products made in China, do you really think the government is going to act on China? As to the… Read more »
Michael, you’re right about the price being a huge red flag. I knew that Walmart sold coins, but I thought that it was the store itself doing this. I didn’t know that they operated a listing service.
I find that one of the most peculiar aspects of the coin purveying arrangement at Walmart is that they have an arrangement to sell coins for APMEX on the Walmart site.
The Walmart store allows any third party to sell via their store. APMEX also has a storefront on eBay but their prices are higher on eBay because they include shipping for each coin in the price. Not sure if they do the same on Walmart but if you are buying multiple coins it is cheaper to use their own site.
APMEX has free shipping on their site with orders over $200.
I suppose that we can be sure Walmart is taking a healthy cut of the sales price of the APMEX products on their site, especially since Walmart is famous aka notorious for the advantageous arrangements they make with and/or force upon their vendors.
Scammers from all over the planet manage to bilk ordinary American citizens out of hundreds of millions of their hard-earned dollars (with the life savings of the elderly hit especially hard) year after year and yet the government appears to be totally powerless to do anything to put this reprehensible thievery out of business; why should the government’s degree of success in dealing with counterfeiters be any different?
Why isn’t PayPal being held accountable. Almost scams use PayPal and they know it. They are helping these scammers simply because they make money from them. A Class Action suit and criminal charges should be filed against them by state, federal and consumers.
I get my bullion and rare coins from APMEX. They are reliable and give a discount for eCheck purchases.
Roger, I’ve bought some mint sets from APMEX in the past, but not bullion. I felt that they were reputable. I’m surprised that they are not affiliated with either the Accredited Precious Metals Dealer program or the Professional Numismatists Guild in checking with the links provided in this article. Also, that they are not on the US Mint’s directory of authorized dealers: Bullion Dealer Locator – Official US Mint Store. I’ve bought from JM Bullion as well- and cannot find any trace of them either on these sites.
JM Bullion is owned by A-Mark who is an authorized dealer. A-Mark owns several PM dealers
I get all my coins from the most reputable source…HSN and Mike Mezack. They get coins direct from the mint and tell me it’s the lowest price I can buy them.
Oh my gosh, Craig, you haven’t been taking advantage of the site with the “very best prices”, to wit, Etsy. They will literally try to sell you the most battered of common one cent coins scraped off a sidewalk somewhere as absolutely genuine rarities for many thousands of dollars apiece. Not a joke!
LOL. That’s the FIJI Mint though.
Then there’s Littleton Coins
OMG, Major D, if one is not unhappy about paying through both nostrils then Littleton is the place to go for all of one’s coin purchases.
When I got back into coin collecting around 2006 (after originally collecting coins I found in change as a kid in the early 1970s) I bought some older coins I always admired and filled in earlier proof ASEs I was missing through Littleton. I had been seeing their ads. I knew even then they were expensive, but I hoped it would mean they were not counterfeit. I was worried about fakes. My opinion is that they can be trusted for that even today, but I am not completely sure that is true. I see even they are now selling “uncirculated”… Read more »
That’s the best, which is to say most fair and thorough, description of the Littleton Coin Company I’ve ever seen; excellent work there, Jeff Legan! Two other things about the “Littleton experience”. One of the main drivers for their excessively high prices are the losses the company takes on those “Coins On Approval” packages they send out with each order. The fact that a considerable number of people keep the approval packets but never pay for them has a serious impact on Littleton’s bottom line which they have to make up for in higher prices on all of their products.… Read more »
Thanks for your input, Kaiser Wilhelm. I learned 3 more things about them than I knew before your comments. Your comments reminded me of another thing I recall Littleton claiming- That they buy collections at a higher price than other dealers. Based on their high prices, that might be true. Can anyone verify that? Anyone ever try selling their collection or any individual coins to Littleton? I sometimes wonder what is the best way to sell coins for maximum value. Online? In person? Auction? Take a booth at a coin show? I figure a dealer will be among the worst.… Read more »
You’re very welcome, Jeff Legan. As to the best way to sell one’s coins, my fear in that regard is that there might not be a good way to do that. I often think that coin collecting is a one way business in that it’s so very easy to find any number of sources to purchase coins from but conversely almost impossible to discover how and to whom to sell them, at least in a way that would be considered advantageously so. Thankfully, I have no intention of ever disposing of my coin collection whether through public or private sale,… Read more »
Ahhh. Every coin show on cable can only make a profit by overpriced coins. Mezak, Tomaska et al have been doing this for years and they are all good guys. But their shows run over and over again and they are not all that cheap. The next time you watch one of their shows go to ebay and see what the same coin or coin set sells for there. I have found 90% of their TV offerings for up to 50% cheaper on ebay. Hence I can almost guarantee you that if you try to sell your TV show product… Read more »
“Good guys” can have a flexible definition in that Mezack and Tomaska are squeezing every cent out of a buying audience that is more than likely very uneducated in their knowledge of what coins should cost.
Majority of his coins are Anacs graded which means your overpaying and 99 % of the time Anacs never crosses over on grading. I made a promise decades ago..NEVER BUY ANACS GRADED COINS!!
Yes they are authorized purchasers. APMEX is listed as:
American Precious Metals Exchange (APMEX)Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73012Silver, Gold, Platinum, Palladium
I’ve bought from JM too.
thanks, good to know- don’t know how I missed that!
As far as I am aware APMEX is one of the largest, if not in fact the largest, of the Mint’s bullion resellers. I also think they got that way by being rather reliable and having developed a good reputation as a result.
Over many years I have found both APMEX and JM Bullion to be highly reliable, both offer 4% discount for eCheck, and free shipping for orders over $199. APMEX ships from Oklahoma City and JMB ships from Las Vegas. JMB very, very slightly undercuts APMEX on US Mint bullion as a rule but is focused exclusively on bullion products while APMEX carries a full line of rare coins, currency, and Mint products.
Now that’s as good an explanation as to why and for what to use APMEX and JM Bullion as I’ve seen. Great contribution, Roger!
So, you can’t tell the difference other than they weigh less than the spec and they’re magnetic?
Silver that cheap and meth mike would have snatched all of it before other dude had a chance. It would bet anacs would have had a limited edition set made just for him. With 5 flex pays and free shipping. Find a good dealer. Buy with credit card so you get extra protection.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
I’m going to despise myself for doing this but here’s a brilliant idea for Caffeine Meth Mike Mezack: Buy up all the Chinese ersatz American “Silver” Eagles and market them as Sold Out Limited Edition GENUINE CHINESE COUNTERFEITS.
Or, we can all take a deep breath, and say in unison,
“Do not buy 1oz silver coins for $7.99”
Yes, indeed! Though this is worse in that the “investor” paid a total of $26.16, including tax, to purchase all ten “ASE bullion coins” which rounds out to be just $2.62 per coin.
When you think about it, this the flip side of the coin sales chicanery that takes place when Amazon sellers, for example, put a simple bullion strike ASE into an original US Mint Uncirculated numismatic strike (Burnished) box and post it as the latter at around three times the Bullion ASE’s regular going price.
First thing I always check is that it has a mint mark. Second, whether it weighs in correctly. Third, a check of all the other specs.
Exactly, Major D. It’s the presence or lack of the mint mark that tells the truth regarding the bullion strike versus numismatic strike tale.
They should serialize the boxes somehow. Though not sure how you would do that for the coin to match. You know it’s a big market because you can easily find boxes for every single coin ever minted in bulk.
Even a cursory examination of a pictured coin will tell you, corners, whether the coin you’re looking at in the Mint box is an actual Numismatic strike or a Bullion strike; just look for the mint mark the former type of coin requires.
Since there is such a thing as “Fool’s Gold” why wouldn’t there also be a “Fool’s Silver”?
There is a thing called nickel silver, which is a range of alloys of copper, nickel and zinc. It’s silvery in appearance but contains no silver. I’d say that would qualify as “Fool’s Silver”.
Isn’t that also called “German Silver”, Major D, which appellation of course as a person of German extraction I can’t help but fine offensive. 😉
Why is Walmart even doing business with Precious Metals in the first place
Two or three years ago I purchased some fake silver eagles advertised on yahoo I paid by PayPal and paid a couple of hundred dollars they were from a false address that were several false addresses from A dummy company in Texas the PayPal payment was to China I turned in all the coins to the secret service one bag unopened PayPal gave me no refund and neither did the secret service the distributor’s were in new York State and California the secret service has never gave me any kind of refund or answers,I actually went to one of our… Read more »
While I certainly do sympathize with your plight, Douglas, I really don’t think it is up to the Secret Service to refund your money since the money they would need to be able to do that would have to come from the a fund comprised of other people’s tax dollars.
I imagine the same thing happens (though I’ve never experienced it) when a counterfeit bill is detected when being deposited at a bank. I’m pretty sure that the bank does not lose the money- rather it’s the innocent depositor.
I think you hit the nail on the head, Major D. While the individual using the counterfeit bill isn’t a participant in the scheme it’s quite unlikely they will be made whole by the bank simply for their having been cheated by a third party.
If they can pay $20,000 for a person’s student loans they can easily pay for a few ounces of silver. Probably one of thr thousands of people that also got fake nursing degrees.
Perhaps, Dazed and Coinfused, but as a taxpayer I protest that I don’t want my hard-earned “gummint tribute” thrown away as good money after bad; the forgiving of student loans is a big slap of the average wage earners face.
” The Long Island investor mistakenly thought he was getting a great bargain when he paid a total of only $26.16, including tax,”
I don’t feel bad for this dude at all. Greed is why he got ripped off because common sense should have kicked in when 1 coin was worth more than he paid for x10 with tax!
No kidding! 🙂