London, UK (PRWEB UK) 24 April 2014 -- Wherever there is easy money to be made, there will always be opportunist criminals, eager to take advantage of trusting and law abiding citizens. With the incredible rise of the gold price in the last year, rare gold coins and sovereigns being valued as much as £55,000 and beyond, and times being tough, criminals have now started targeting the numismatic world as an easy way to defraud, mislead or steal from people with valuable portfolios.
As to be expected with their sizable collections and online presence that make them a target for cyber-criminals, professional coin dealers are now on numismatic thieves’ radar. On the other side of the coin, individual coin collectors who have rare and valuable coins stored at home are quickly becoming the primary target. Due to the fact that many numismatists have a trusting nature and also somewhat lax security measures at their domiciles.
Doug Davis, founder and president of the Numismatic Crime Information Center in Arlington, Texas has been instrumental in bringing perpetrators of coin collection thefts to justice and has noted a sizeable rise in numismatic crime worldwide over the past couple of years.
Davis says, “Any coin collector can be a target. You’re in a business and hobby that involves a lot of value and money. Criminals often steal rare coins and precious metals because it’s easy for them to dump these items and extremely hard for police to trace where the valuables came from.”
Elliot Basker, Online Business Manager, Hallmark Coins, said, “We have suffered from Internet fraud ourselves recently. You can never really be too careful as a numismatist these days. You constantly have to have your wits about you, or face the consequences. It is no longer good enough to have a safe at home. What we and others recommend is that you store your portfolio offsite in a safe deposit box and keep that information and the fact that you are a coin collector to yourself. It is better to be safe than sorry.”
This type of crime is not only akin to the physical theft of coins, but also cyber crime as well. With the rise of online transactions and coin auctions, so have come schemes to defraud and mislead people. Some collections bought online are being shipped to the buyer less one or two valuable coins and others are shipped containing all counterfeit coins. The most popular is where cyber-criminals purchase coins from a seller, then return the coin or collection of coins with counterfeit or altered coins, citing the reason for return as being that it was not the coin(s) that they agreed to purchase.
Besides acquiring a good reference book containing diameters and weights of the coins, purchasing a good gram scale and going online to verify that the certificate number and photograph matches the coin(s) you are looking to acquire, one of the proven and safest ways of buying and selling coins is still through a professional coin dealer that is reputable and impartial.
In general it is best to keep a detailed inventory of your collection, ensure that your insurance is up to date and adequate, and also that you create and implement a security plan to safeguard your valuable collection.
Elliott Basker, Hallmark Coins, http://www.hallmarkcoins.co.uk, +44 800 612 7327, [email protected]