Beware of coin scams and misleading ads

By: Alicia Gentile Email
By: Alicia Gentile Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- The economy has many of us concerned about money, and as a result, more and more ads are popping up offering coins as an investment alternative.

But what happens when the price tag for your coin collection costs you more than it's worth?

We see these ads for silver coins more and more on television and in the paper. For some, coin collecting is a hobby, but for others, it's security in a time of turmoil. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid scams and misleading ads before your investment dries up.

A newspaper ad offering free silver coins raised skepticism from North Avenue Coins store owner Dusty Felix. A large picture of a 1921 collectible Walking Liberty coin graces the face of the ad.

"Here [in the ad] the 1921 Walking Liberty half dollar in that good of condition- Redbook Retail is $1,800 dollars,” says Felix.

The ad says the Walking Liberty coin is free when you purchase a bag of silver coins from them. I called the Ohio-based company, and they are selling a bag of old silver coins for $129, and they insist in return you will get the pictured 1921 Walking Liberty coin.

But they put its value much lower: $22 to $325. Felix has his doubts.

"You will not get this coin if you buy their silver," says Felix.

Felix says the year and condition of the Walking Liberty coin determines the value of the coin, and a 1921 Walking Liberty coin is rare and valuable.

Heather Benjamin, public information officer with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, says when it comes to some newspaper and online ads, it is best to buy and sell locally.

"Unless it's a very reputable transaction or firm, we would recommend that you don't do that. There are a lot of opportunities for scam," explained Benjamin.

Felix says victims of coin scams have come to North Avenue Coins. They were paying 10 times what the coins were actually worth.

"Tell her [coin company] that it was worth $5,000 [coins], but because she was such a good customer she was getting it for $3,500 and the coin might be worth $500," said Felix.

The Mesa County Sheriff's office also recommends checking a company's reputation through the Better Business Bureau.

Both Felix and Benjamin agree if something looks to good to be true, it probably is.

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office says if you suspect you are a victim of fraud, report it. You can call the Mesa County Sheriff's Office non-emergency line at 242-6707.

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