Don't let predatory Gold Companies catch you unprepared.
Your retirement funds are supposed to take care of you during your golden years. A gold IRA is supposed to protect your retirement portfolio before then by being a hedge against inflation and economic turmoil. It's up to you to protect yourself from gold IRA scams.
When a gold IRA goes right, it does a lot for you. You get to diversify into alternative asset classes with benefits stocks and bonds don't have. You also get the tax breaks inherent to an IRA.
However, when you fall prey to gold IRA scams and lies, you run serious risks. You might wind up paying more for things than you should. Worse yet, your gold IRA might not produce positive results for you and you might even lose money that could have stayed in your hands.
Fortunately, you can learn what some of the scams and lies out there are. That way, you can avoid them and only work with reputable companies. I'm going to help you with all of this, so you can better identify the risks you face, know how to manage them, and find the right companies to deal with.
Gold IRA Scams and Lies Known To Have Happened
I can't possibly cover every scam or lie that's happened with gold over its thousands of years of history, but I'll go through as many as I can so you get a good understanding of what's possible.
Fake Gold Collateral
Kingold was a jewelry company huge enough for stock market listing and deposited billions of dollars in gold at over a dozen different banks before borrowing nearly $3 billion against the bullion to invest in Chinese real estate. Unfortunately, 83 tons of the gold was fake, and the loan defaulted. The result was over 60 million homes being built and left unoccupied or not even finished because someone used gilded copper instead of gold for the bars.
Quite a few gold scams either happen in China or involve the country. This is one of many reasons why the IRS limits gold IRA metals to particular coins and bars and why depository storage is nearly always inside the United States. The exceptions are few and far between.
Scam Valuations of Rare Coins
Coin dealers can be the problem in this scenario. They'll try and get you to buy coins they say are collectible, uncirculated, proof, or rare. Often, these coins have tremendously high markups over the market spot prices.
Given IRS limitations on what you can buy for a gold IRA, there's not as much risk for you. If you're buying outside of an IRA, it's worth getting coins appraised independently by a different dealer not involved in your potential transaction. In all cases, sticking to ordinary bullion products and paying strict attention to spot prices can help you avoid this particular scam.
Ponzi Schemes and Non-Delivery
I hate these. A scammer will take your investment money and pocket it rather than put it where it should be. They'll pay out just enough to maintain their fraud.
Scammers such as these usually fund lavish lifestyles with investor money. The common warning sign is deliveries are getting held up. That can happen to any legitimate business, but it's also a chance for you to get out of a Ponzi scheme early than be strung along.
Sophisticated counterfeit rings happen around the planet, and they're quite massive in scale. Corruption among banking and state officials in China and Africa makes this possible. I will warn you that counterfeiters are everywhere, however.
Some domestic counterfeiters have worn fake uniforms and credentials of the ATF. Fake gold bars can be made using copper, tungsten, and lead with only thin gold plating on the surface. These materials and metals cost a lot less than gold, but unwitting buyers spend the spot price for them.
Any gold IRA conducted by IRS standards requires that all gold, silver, palladium, and platinum in the IRA be stored in a depository or vault that the government approves of. You are not allowed to take personal possession of your gold IRA metals until you make withdrawals or take distributions from the account. A safety deposit box or a home safe doesn't cut it.
You might see advertisements for “home storage IRA” investment options. This is misleading, and the courts have backed it up as illegal. A gold IRA is already a great way to get around a lot of taxes, but trying to get around the depository rules is completely against the law.
I have a tendency to trust other people who are like me, and I bet you might, too. Scammers use familiar affiliations to take advantage of this, whether sharing a house of worship or representing a veteran's organization. Unfortunately, people pretending to be legitimate preachers have promoted precious metal investments through religious programming and events.
Some of the millions raised went to promote more fraud, but most of it just funded lavish lifestyles. I'm afraid religions aren't the only common affiliate scamming avenues, either. Minorities are also exploited by criminals who take advantage of certain citizens having more trust in who they assume are their fellow minorities.
It's Safe, Trust Me
Don't believe anyone who tries to convince you that gold investing carries no risk. Be very wary of anyone that claims they can guarantee precious metal returns. Gold investing isn't guaranteed like your savings or checking account is, and historical returns don't always happen in the future.
I constantly point out what gold has done in the past regarding inflation or market crashes, but it's not always consistent in how it does. I also love pointing out how gold goes up in value over time, but there are years or even decades when it doesn't do it that much. It's a roller coaster as much as any investment class, and this is why diversification is so essential.
Overseas or Underpriced Options
Sending money to any dealer or merchant overseas can be a huge risk. There are legitimate companies outside the United States, but the scammers know they are beyond the reach or influence of American law enforcement. This again fuels IRS rules about gold IRAs.
Anything that is below the spot price is also something to suspect about. You might run the risk of buying something fake on the inside. It's also possible that you are helping someone move stolen precious metals they didn't pay for.
Supplies Are Limited
A big box retailer in your neighborhood will run sales from time to time to generate demand for items. That's a legitimate sales technique. I've enjoyed the deals available on Black Friday or Back to School most years.
It's not the same with precious metals. Stick to bullion. The market has plenty of Canadian Maple Leaf coins or American Gold Eagles and Buffalos for your to do your diligence and buy tomorrow or even the day after.
You Can Avoid the Lies
While there are plenty of gold IRA scams that you might fall prey to, that doesn't mean the entire industry is full of such mischief. Legitimate and reputable companies are out there that you can work with. One of them is Augusta Precious Metals.
Don't just take my word for it, though. The company has a complementary guide you can use to avoid the lies and scams that some gold IRA dealers try on people looking to safeguard their retirement. I respect Augusta Precious Metals for publishing this, but I love how they make this guide free to anyone, whether they're a customer or not.
What Can You Do About All This?
It's good to learn common gold IRA lies and scams. That's why I've made you aware of at least some of the tactics out there that guilty parties are using to prey on people just looking to save for later in life. However, spending too much time on this subject might make you feel powerless, and you can do three things about all of this.
First of all, report any scams involving precious metals investment that you wind up falling victim to. Consult the attorney general's office of your state and the local field office of the FBI. At the federal level, consult the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and the USPS Criminal Investigations Service Center.
Second, check out any company before you deal with them. I regularly use TrustPilot, Business Consumer Alliance, and the Better Business Bureau. You can also look up companies via TrustLink, RipOff Report, and Ethics.Net.
Third, and finally, remember that there are good guys out there. Augusta Precious Metals certainly is trying to help consumers, and you'll find others as you do research and reviews. Any company will have at least a few complaints against them, but what you can learn from those is how many there are and what the company did to resolve them.