At times of economic uncertainty, many people begin to think about moving their money from stocks and bonds to more tangible assets, like gold.
"They promised me $25,000 "in" and hundreds of thousands "out," said an anonymous fraud victim, who asked to be identified as John.
He was one of 50 victims who lost almost $3 million after sinking money into the International Rarities Corp., only to learn it was a scam.
"Complete economic devastation. It wiped out their retirement savings, their complete savings," said Robert Strande, US Postal Inspector.
Anytime the banking industry or wall street is on shaky ground, opportunistic con men begin touting the safety of the precious metals market.
"These victims that are elderly, they come from a generation that believes in the validity and value of coins and precious metals," Strande said.
Law enforcers say the gold industry has been growing quickly, but it is always important for investors to do their homework.
"Before you get started you should have an idea yourself for what the coins are worth and then you consult a number of different dealers before you settle on who you are going to deal with," said Asst. US Attorney, Karen Schommer.
"I thought I had done my due diligence and obviously I didn't. No matter what information you have, you have to try and dig deeper," John advised.
Law enforcers also suggest that you check out the dealer's history and better business rating. The longer the dealer has been in business, the better. And never turn over your coins or gold without a written agreement.
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