How do you guarantee that the gold and silver coins that I buy are not counterfeit?

The date is August 12, 1985 and Japan Air Lines Flight 123 takes off from Mt. Osutaka, Japan. It is business as usual for the 524 people on board until the airplane reaches an altitude of 24,000 feet. Suddenly, the tail of the airplane breaks loose and the aircraft starts to spin uncontrollably. The captain wrestles with the plane’s controls for the next 40 minutes but despite his best efforts the plane eventually nosedives into a mountain and over 500 people are killed.

What caused such a disaster? Could this catastrophe have been prevented? An investigation into the accident revealed that the airplane had been fitted with counterfeit bulkhead parts following a small on-the-ground accident that took place eight years earlier. The plane’s owners and mechanics took a financial shortcut that ended up costing hundreds of innocent people their lives.

Counterfeit gold and silver coins cost investors their financial lives every day. Counterfeiters have become quite adept at replicating gold and silver coins, so investors may not find out that they are holding worthless pieces until it is too late. Imagine the disappointment of assuming that you are financially secure with hard assets, only to find out that the coins are fakes when you attempt to liquidate them or trade them for goods and services. How can one avoid purchasing fake gold and silver coins?

There are several ways to protect oneself against investment fraud. First, it is important to do business with an established, reputable precious metal exchange. Online auction sites allow scammers to retain their anonymity, and local shops may not always have the proper equipment for testing a coin’s authenticity. The Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) assign each coin that enters their doors a barcode and serial number that can be verified online. The additional security of tamper-evident cases makes PCGS and NGC the gold and silver coin certifiers of choice for dealers and household investors alike. Investors who prefer raw bullion coins should use US Mint-verified dealers to ensure that their coins are genuine, because China has recently added fake bullion coins to its already long list of counterfeit exports. More information on counterfeit gold and silver coins can be found in Real Money Magazine, produced and distributed by GoldSilver.org and available by completing the form below.

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