If you buy coins online it’s important to be safe to protect yourself and your investment. With eBay and online sites offering collectible coins and bullion for sale, should you buy from them? In most instances (maybe all…) when you buy coins online, the items are sold by advertisers who are NOT regulated by the platform. Buyer beware!
Here are 15 tips to protect yourself…
1. Know what you are buying.
2. Does the seller have good references or offer a published return policy? Check references, but be careful. They could be friends or associates.
3. Ask yourself why the seller is selling this so cheap.
4. Does the seller take PayPal Goods and Services? If not, be wary.
5. State all the terms in your email back to the seller and ask the seller to confirm the terms BEFORE you pay.
6. Look at the seller’s postings and profile. If the profile is new or there are lots of pictures in the last month with few or no comments, be wary.
7. Research ID numbers on grading service websites. The ID number for a graded coin should tell you if the coin in the holder matches.
8. Don’t be afraid to snoop into someone’s personal and professional profiles or online life. It is YOUR money that you are protecting.
9. If anything is unusual, locate the group moderator or administrator.
10. Make sure the seller actually has the items displayed on the listing. Some groups require new sellers to post a picture of the coins for sale along with a piece of paper with the seller’s name and current date.
11. Look at the seller’s address. A foreign address doesn’t always indicate a problem, but some scammers are outside the U.S. because it is safer for them. They are not governed by U.S. laws.
12. Is there a U.S. phone number for the seller? You may need to reach them.
13. Beware of sellers that ask you to provide a check for their shipping company to insure the package AFTER you have paid by PayPal Friends and Family. DO NOT DO THAT!
14. If you are the victim of a scam, tell the admins or moderators of the group. Complain to the local police and postal authorities. Complain to anyone who will listen.
15. Trust your instincts. If it seems like it’s too good to be true, it is. Be careful if something seems amiss.
This article about how to buy coins online previously appeared in COINage magazine. To subscribe click here. Article by Mike Garofalo.