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HomeCrime and FraudFake Gold, Silver Coins on Hundreds of Websites: ACEF

Fake Gold, Silver Coins on Hundreds of Websites: ACEF

Fake Gold, Silver Coins on Hundreds of Websites: ACEF
Counterfeit Antietam Half Dollar. Image: Adobe Stock / CoinWeek.

Investigators discover more than 300 websites selling counterfeit “rare coins” and “precious metal” items, including some advertisers on


A Long Island, New York investor mistakenly thought he could make a quick profit of at least several hundred dollars on an online purchase of coins from a vendor he found advertising at Instead, the unsuspecting buyer unhappily learned all 10 of the “American Silver Eagle” coins he received are fakes, according to the nonprofit Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (ACEF).

“The ACEF has notified Walmart and the [United States] Secret Service about the advertiser, and he is under investigation; however, bad actors selling counterfeit rare coins and fake gold and silver bullion coins online frequently change company names and websites,” cautioned Doug Davis, ACEF Anti-Counterfeiting Director.

“We’ve seen suspicious ads posted on many platforms, including Amazon and Facebook. We now are tracking more than 300 websites selling fakes, many of them apparently operated by the same individuals or companies, but often under different company names. Some even copy the exact wording and actual photos from legitimate dealers’ web pages,” explained Davis, a former Texas Police Chief.

Genuine United States Mint-produced American Silver Eagle bullions each contain one ounce of silver and may sell for perhaps 20 percent over the current price of silver. The Long Island investor mistakenly thought he was getting a great bargain when he paid a total of only $26.16 USD (including tax) to purchase all 10 of what the seller claimed were “silver coins.”

The advertisement even promised the coins would be accompanied by a “Certificate of Authenticity from the US Mint.”

Thinking he could get perhaps $300 or more for the 10 items, the buyer learned they were counterfeits when he tried to sell them to a local Long Island coin dealer.

As a good faith gesture, the dealer purchased all 10 of the bogus coins for the exact amount the investor originally paid and then submitted all the fakes to Davis at the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation – along with copies of the investor’s purchase documents.

As part of their ongoing probes of suspected fraud, investigators with the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force make purchases from websites suspected of selling counterfeit coins and precious metals.

“In one recent purchase, we ordered three advertised American Eagle silver coins for $7.99 each from a seller. As is typical of many suspect sellers on social media and other websites, the advertiser wanted to appear legitimate by requesting payment using PayPal. The coins received were professionally tested for authenticity and they were below the weight of United States Mint standards and were magnetic. Genuine examples are not magnetic,” explained Davis.

Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation experts warn that the quality of many counterfeits is quite good and easily can deceive buyers who are not experienced with coins and precious metal bullion items.

“Counterfeiters and their accomplices are heavily marketing fakes through social media and websites that may promise genuine merchandise but deliver counterfeits. Every day, ACTF investigators locate suspected websites selling counterfeit coins and precious metals, preying on unsuspecting victims,” said Davis.

“Remember, if you don’t know precious metals or rare coins, you’d better know a reputable seller, such as experts affiliated with the Accredited Precious Metals Dealer (APMD) program or the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG). Members of both PNG and APMD must follow a strict code of ethics in the buying and selling of numismatic merchandise,” Davis advised.

“The important work of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation and its volunteer task force of rare coin and precious metals experts is supported entirely by donations,” explained ACEF Executive Director Robert Brueggeman. “The ACEF is a 501(c)(3) corporation, and all donations are tax deductible.”

For additional information, contact the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation by phone at (817) 723-7231, by email at [email protected], or visit the website at

Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation
Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation
The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation Inc. (ACEF) is a 501 (c) (3) public charity incorporated in the state of Delaware. They work to mobilize law enforcement resources to protect the integrity of U.S. and world coinage by educating officials on the economic impact and growing threat of counterfeit circulating, collectible, and bullion coins. The ACEF seeks to become the primary industry liaison with law enforcement and other government agencies; provide education, expertise, and other resources to law enforcement to curtail the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit coins in the United States; and assist in the prosecution of suspects involved in any aspect of coin counterfeiting. The Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force is a division of the foundation and is comprised of 26 experts who volunteer their time in pursuit of the shared mission.

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  1. Facebook won’t do a thing about the fake coins and bullion. I used to report every scam in my “sponsored” ads. Facebook would say the ads for fakes didn’t violate community standards.

  2. Until there is something done about individuals who sell empty supplies to people counterfeits are going to continue to be a problem. There is always empty mint boxes and certificates of authenticity for sale on eBay. There are empty slabs for sale from PCGS and NGC. It makes it extremely hard even for seasoned collectors to not get taken. I was one of those of got taken on some ASE I’m sure. I haven’t had them tested yet but I’m almost positive they are fakes.

  3. Every time I bought anything off of Facebook it wasn’t silver it it was magnetic and it only weighed 25 to 28 G and troy ounces is 31.1 I’ve got my money back from my credit cards but it’s still a big hassle and every one of them’s fake they should investigate every one of them


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