Gold Scams Soar: Where to Get Help

Last Updated Nov 10, 2010 4:11 PM EST

Note to readers: This is the second of a two-part series on gold scams. The first part tells you how to protect yourself before you buy. This part tells you where to go for help if you've already been taken.

While most gold dealers are legitimate, the crooks advertise, so they're likely to sweep up a disproportionate number of consumers. Have you been taken?

Three nonprofit organizations representing legitimate dealers -- the American Numismatic Association (www.money.org), the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (www.ictaonline.org) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.pngdealers.com) -- have banded together to provide help and information to those who have been conned by fly-by-night gold buyers and sellers.

If you bought gold, but didn't receive it; if you think you've been conned by counterfeit coins; if you think your dealer has charged you way too much for what you've received, here's where these nonprofits suggest you go for help.

Numismatic Consumer Alliance, Inc. (www.StopCoinFraud.org) helps consumers secure relief for allegedly fraudulent and illegal conduct within the coin industry. Address: P.O. Box 144, Bedminster, New Jersey 07921. Phone: (908) 781-7947.

Numismatic Crime Information Center (www.NumismaticCrimes.org) can help with investigative resources, information and direction for customers, dealers and law enforcement agencies. Address: P.O. Box 14080, Arlington, Texas 76094. Phone: (817) 723-7231.

Credit Card Companies if the purchase in dispute was made with a credit card within the past six months. Call the Customer Service number on the credit card and inquire about doing a charge back for undelivered merchandise.

Local Police Department or Sheriff's Department, the local District Attorney or County Prosecutor and the State Attorney General in the city, county or state where the transaction took place. Phone numbers can be found in the Government pages of local phone books or online. A convenient listing of contact information for every state attorney general can be found on the National Association of Attorneys General website, www.naag.org.

Federal Bureau of Investigation or Secret Service depending on the dollar amount of the transaction and whether interstate commerce or counterfeit coins were involved in the transaction. Phone numbers for the nearest FBI and Secret Service are available in the government section of the phone book. The United States Postal Service may be able to provide assistance if the transaction occurred using the U.S. Mail. Go to your main post office and ask to talk with the local Postmaster or Postal Inspector.

American Numismatic Association (www.money.org) if the dealers involved in the dispute are ANA members and the dispute involves alleged violation of the ANACode of Ethics, the association offers complaint mediation services for a fee based on the dollar value of the transaction. Address: 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs,Colorado 80903. Phone: (800) 367-9723.

Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.com) if the dealers in question are PNG members they must adhere to the Guild's Code of Ethics, support thePNG Collector's Bill of Rights and must agree to binding arbitration to resolve any disputes involving numismatic merchandise. Address: 3950 Concordia Lane, Fallbrook,California 92028. Phone: (760) 728-1300.

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Sentinel Network (www.FTC.gov) compiles fraud statistics. Information about filing a complaint can be found online atwww.consumeraction.gov. Phone: (877) 382-4357.

Additional consumer protection information from the American Numismatic Association about "How to Buy Gold & Silver" and "Three Things Gold Buyers Must Know" are available online.

For a great video primer on why gold has been rising and where it's going, check out Jill Schlesinger's interview on CBS here.

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