One of the most difficult and frustrating parts of any business is scams. No matter how hard we try, it is just about impossible to avoid scams altogether, so we do the next best thing and try to limit them to a bare minimum.
Because people are people, we are prone to mistakes and imperfections, yet we can save ourselves a whole lot of time, trouble, money, and stress if we keep an eye out for these few charlatans that are polluting an otherwise honest and clean market. Unfortunately, there are those who have already fallen prey to these scammers and con artists, so it is up to us to learn from their mistakes and drive the scammers out of the industry.
While your dealer may appear to be nice, friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable, you should always keep your relationship to a professional level, and never become too close to your dealer. In one case, a woman entrusted her dealer with access to her home, and over time the dealer convinced this woman to spend her entire savings on rare coins. With the coins in her home and no one present, the dealer helped herself to the customer’s collection, making off with thousands of dollars all because of customer who allowed a business relationship to get too personal.
You may have received calls or seen commercials advertising “amazing” limited time offers on “rare” coins of all sorts. This problem, however, is very easily avoided by not buying over the phone. You wouldn’t buy a car over the phone, so why should rare coins be any different? Don’t buy any coins over the phone, and if you see a commercial advertising a rare coin, don’t even bother calling, because any coin worthwhile won’t be previewed in a commercial or sold over the phone.
Only coin auctions are another common marketplace for rare coins, and though there are honest sellers within these auctions, you may find it easier to avoid them altogether. Online auctions are certainly a more risky method of coin buying, and in general you should try and avoid buying from these sites. However, if you feel the overwhelming urge to purchase a coin via auction, try and do so through a certified seller with an untarnished reputation. When it comes to the payment method, never wire the money through your bank or use a debit card, because once the money is in the scammers account, it is gone forever. With online auctions, proceed with caution and purchase with credit card to help protect yourself against scammers.
Rare coin investing isn’t like buying an ordinary stock, so you shouldn’t treat it like one. With rare coin investing, you are on your own, and will have to make your own informed decisions using only the help of the resources around you and your knowledge of the industry.
People have unfortunately, made the mistake of entrusting supposed funds and groups that will invest your money in rare coins, and have instead pulled a Madoff, playing with money that wasn’t there, leaving gullible investors devoid of money and coins.
In summation, the rare coin industry is a relatively safe place, yet it is not a utopia void of all scam and con artists. With a watchful eye and a composed approach to buying, you can avoid these scams, and save yourself plenty of money and time. If a deal seems too good to be true, then it is, and if you have any suspicions whatsoever as to the legitimacy of a coin, do yourself a favor, and stay away.
The rare coin outlook is promising for those who exercise caution when buying and selling, so don’t be the next one to set an example by learning the hard way.