These days, it can feel incredibly challenging to figure out what is a scam and what is not. So many social media posts promote companies and honestly, I find it hard to tell sometimes whether they have been sponsored or not – even if they are supposed to disclose, I think that we all know that does not always happen.
Now, when it comes to navigating the digital world, there are certain ways that we can proceed in terms of avoiding these bad deals. This goes for gold investing too, of course, though it might not be the first thing that we think to apply this concept to. That being said, I think that spreading some education on this matter is valuable, so I will do my best to provide it.
Signs of a Scam on the Internet
I will start here, as even though it is a broad concept, you can easily narrow it down to apply to precious metals and their brokers. To begin, you may want to check out a web page like this one, https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-avoid-scam, which offers a bit of advice in regard to what to watch out for.
Of course, I will be building off of that, so be sure to stick around. First, be on the watch for companies that claim to be a part of a governmental organization or a business that you can trust. I get so many emails each and every day claiming to be from the IRS or the Social Security Administration.
Chances are, they have no reason to email you or call you (barring certain circumstances, of course), so it is unlikely that it is truly from them. That is why I recommend that you always stay on your guard when opening attachments or signing up for things from shady websites claiming to be who they are not.
You might even be surprised by how common this is for gold brokers. A bunch of pages claims to be affiliated with the IRA or something similar. You do not have to be affiliated with them to help investors open individual retirement arrangements using precious metals, so I tend to view those claims with skepticism at best.
The next thing that you should be mindful of is most scam groups or organizations try to pose a problem that you have or tell you that you have won a prize. I know am not alone in receiving an inundation of annoying text messages and calls either telling me that the IRS is after me or that I have won some fabulous prize.
While they are on opposite ends of the spectrum at first glance, they are both utilizing a sense of panic or excitement to try to lure unwitting victims into sharing their personal information. If you get messages like these, ignore them. It might even be a good idea to block their number, if possible, though sometimes it can be tricky.
In a similar vein to this, many of them try to further pressure you into acting quickly with these tactics. There have even been scams going around for things as small as social media pages, telling you that you need to reset your password within two minutes by using a special portal or you will lose access to the account. In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to recognize these patterns, so do not feel bad if you have ever fallen for something like that.
Finally, most of these scams involve something where you have to pay in a very particular way. Be it sending some shady PayPal account money or, even worse, providing your credit card details, usually, they will not accept anything else. So, that is why I tend to be hesitant if a transaction is headed that way.
What Does this Mean for Gold Investing, though?
As I mentioned before, I know that all of that seems rather broad when we are supposed to be homing in on this topic. Well – let me explain. All of those tactics that I mentioned above can and will be used by scam companies claiming to be brokers at some point or another. Likely, they are already being utilized.
However, there are certain things that we can do to protect ourselves. Something I tend to do is check out reviews. Say you are considering a certain company – you could search for something like 7K Metals Reviews to see what other people think of them. Sure, online reviews have become somewhat of a meme as of late (at least in some eyes), but I still think they are one of the most underestimated resources we have right at our fingertips.
What else can we do, though? Well, if a site hits us with a “buy right now or you will absolutely regret it” sort of message, take a moment and pause. Do not act on the panicked instinct that you might have initially, and process what you are being told. Examine the page and see if there are any of those red flags that I mentioned previously.
There is a fine line there, of course – a common sales tactic is to utilize that fear of missing out that so many of us have. So, that is why I recommend you check out the other tactics too. Just the urgency on its own probably is just a sales method, but otherwise, it might be something shady.
In general, just be hesitant when companies you are not familiar with immediately ask for highly personal details. I am not referring to signing up for a newsletter or something like that – rather, I mean if they want your credit card number or all of your contact information right away even though it does not seem relevant.
Those are just a few methods to avoid scams in terms of gold brokers (and generally, of course). My advice is to look at the reviews posted and go from there.