Three major numismatic organizations that sent a letter to Facebook executives to complain that the social media platform “has become the predominant choice of some fraudsters” are disappointed with the lack of a response by Facebook and the continuing appearance of pop-up advertisements selling counterfeit coins. No response has been received in the month since the letter was sent.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (ACEF), Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) sent their joint letter on Aug. 19, 2021, to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, chairman and chief executive officer. Copies were also sent to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Kara Sandberg and chief revenue officer at the time, David Fischer.
“We are disappointed and frustrated that Facebook, for whatever reason, has failed to even acknowledge our important letter while hundreds of pop-up ads selling counterfeits or touting inaccurately or misleadingly described replicas continue to appear on their platform,” said Bob Brueggeman, PNG executive director. “ACEF, NGC and PNG jointly offered to assist Facebook to detect and help prevent these kinds of fraudulent ads, but there’s been no response.”
Mark Salzberg, NGC chairman, stated: “NGC was founded, in part, to combat counterfeit coins in the marketplace. The coin collecting hobby is safer now than ever before, but we unfortunately face a new and serious threat from counterfeiters who are using social media to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers. NGC hopes to have the opportunity to work with Facebook to help banish these unscrupulous sellers from its platform.”
Doug Davis, ACEF director of anti-counterfeiting and a former Texas police chief, stated: “The Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force has identified Facebook as a major platform utilized by counterfeiters and criminal organizations to sell counterfeit coins and precious metals. It is critical that Facebook executives recognize the criminal abuse of their platform by crooks who are preying on unsuspecting and uneducated victims who have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But most importantly, the misuse of the Facebook platform undermines the integrity of the U.S. monetary system.”
Following is the full text of the joint letter signed by Davis, Salzberg and Brueggeman.
August 19, 2021
Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Chairman & CEO
1601 Willow Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Dear Mr. Zuckerberg:
It appears Facebook has become the predominant choice of some fraudsters. Counterfeiters of rare coins and counterfeit precious metals coins and sellers of these bogus, illegal products continue to blatantly obtain advertising on Facebook.
The work of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (ACEF) with law enforcement investigators leads us to believe the cost to unsuspecting victims is in the millions of dollars in lost investments. Good-faither buyers erroneously believe that if any advertisement appears on Facebook it must be accurate and true.
Facebook’s platform continues to be used to lure gullible buyers of counterfeits of century-old U.S. silver dollars, and fake gold and silver modern American Eagle precious metal bullion coins.
Some unscrupulous sellers also offer illegal “replicas” of historic coins that are not marked “COPY” and, therefore, are in blatant violation of the federal 1973 Hobby Protection Act and the 2014 Collectible Coin Protection Act.
Based on investigation and analysis by ACEF, there are many red flags to identify these sites, and it appears hundreds of “different” sites selling counterfeits are being created by only a handful of bad actors.
Expert members of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (www.ACEFonline.org), Numismatic Guaranty Company (www.NGCcoin.com) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.org) are ready to offer their assistance to help Facebook prevent these types of fraudulent advertisements and alert you to those that may be popping up in the future.
Contact ACEF Director of Anti-Counterfeiting Doug Davis at 817-723-7231 or Doug@ACEFonline.org; NGC Chairman Mark Salzberg at 941-360-3990 or Mark@NGCcoin.com; and PNG Executive Director Robert Brueggeman at 951-587-8300 or Bob@PNGdealers.org.
Thank you for your consideration of this urgent matter.
Director of Anti-Counterfeiting,
Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation
Professional Numismatists Guild
Ms. Sheryl Kara Sandberg, Facebook, COO & Director
Mr. David Fischer, Facebook Chief Revenue Officer