The recent panic-buying of silver bullion has sparked a significant increase in fraudulent or misleading online advertising to lure unsuspecting retail buyers to purchase counterfeit United States silver dollars, according to officials of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (ACEF).
“The Chinese are blowing up the web selling fake silver dollars,” said Doug Davis, ACEF Anti-Counterfeiting director. “We’ve seen suspicious ads posted on many platforms, including Amazon and Facebook.”
“During the past couple of weeks, we received an increase in reports of counterfeits due to silver’s volatility and especially the ongoing interest in the Morgan silver dollars market. The Chinese are heavily marketing fake silver dollars via Facebook,” said Davis, a former Texas Police Chief.
“Remember, if you don’t know precious metals, you’d better know a reputable seller, such as experts affiliated with the Accredited Precious Metals Dealer program (www.APMDdealers.org),” advised Davis.
Morgan dollars are named after their designer, George T. Morgan, and were struck by the U.S. Mint from 1878 to 1904 and again in 1921. Popular with collectors and investors, each coin contains about three-fourths of an ounce of silver.
“The crush of retail customers has slowed down a bit, but we’ve definitely seen ‘panic buying’ of silver the past couple of weeks,” said Richard Weaver, president of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG). “Unfortunately, some unsuspecting buyers are becoming victims of online scams by unscrupulous sellers.”
“Supplies of genuine, century-old Morgan silver dollars are extremely tight, but one suspicious seller on Facebook is offering to sell 28 ‘genuine’ Morgan dollars for only $199. If they actually were genuine coins, the price would be closer to $900. Even the certification holders housing their fakes appear to be counterfeits,” Weaver explained.
The ACEF is alerting the Secret Service about the fakes as part of the foundation’s ongoing assistance to federal, state and local law enforcement as well as prosecutors to fight counterfeiting and the sales of counterfeit coins.
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) is the official authentication service for the foundation and its Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force. NGC is the world’s largest third-party grading service for coins, tokens and medals, and is also the official grading service for the American Numismatic Association and the PNG.
“The important work of the foundation and the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force is supported entirely by donations,” explained Robert Brueggeman, ACEF executive director. “The ACEF is a 501(c)(3) corporation, and all donations are tax deductible.”