Anatomy of Fraudulent Facebook Pop- Up Ads

“Facebook has become the predominant choice of fraudsters.”

(Temecula, California) September 20, 2021 — Online scams related to counterfeit coins and precious metals continue to escalate and a major tool used by fraudsters is the utilization of Facebook pop-up ads to scam unsuspecting victims, according to the non-profit Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (www.ACEFonline.org).

“ACEF and its working group, the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force, have seen an increase in reports of fraudulent Facebook pop-up ads selling counterfeit coins and precious metals,” said Doug Davis, ACEF Director of Anti-Counterfeiting. “Although there are other social media and e-commerce platforms selling counterfeits, Facebook has become the predominant choice of fraudsters.”

Davis cautions: “Millions of dollars are being lost by victims who become easy targets for fraudsters who are using social media platforms to entice unsuspecting victims. Fraudsters are armed with a toolbox of sophisticated and realistic marketing techniques to develop deceptive and fraudulent social media platforms and websites. During the past 18 months the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force has been monitoring numerous fraudulent websites selling counterfeit coins and precious metals. Based upon our investigation and analysis there are many red flags and commonalties used by these sites indicating hundreds are being created by a handful of large organizations.”

ACTF recently received a report involving the purchase of over $27,000 in counterfeit one-ounce silver eagles from a Facebook pop-up ad.

To help protect numismatists and the general buying public, ACTF dissects a fraudulent Facebook pop-up ad and identifies the many red flags:

  • When checking your FB page an ad pops up selling 2021 one-ounce U.S. Silver Eagles. You click on the ad, and it takes you to a different website showing a picture of a 2021 eagle with a background picture of a tube of eagles in a green top tube. The offer is “Buy 7 get 3 free for $48.99.” The ad also indicates that the offer is 50% off. If you would like to purchase just one the cost is $6.99. Warning! That price is well under the actual market value for genuine one-ounce silver Eagles and TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.
  • The site utilizes a gallery of photos that have been swiped from legitimate sites to lure unsuspecting victims. The photos usually include real coins, U.S. mint tubes and large “monster” boxes to show that the coins came from the U.S. Mint. (Some fraudulent sites use a combination of real and counterfeit coins within the photo gallery. This is prevalent in sites selling Morgan dollars.)
  • Some sites will use videos which show the coin weighing correctly, the correct dimensions and will not adhere to a magnet as would a counterfeit made of a magnetic base metal. A recent site included a video of silver Eagle coins being inserted into a U.S. Mint tube, placed in a monster box, and then loaded on a pallet for delivery. (But unsuspecting buyers instead likely would receive counterfeits.)
  • Fraudulent sites often use photos and videos of genuine coins to support the authenticity of their counterfeit coins or spurious precious metals offerings.
  • Buy two or more items and get an additional deep discount on top of already impossible, low prices if the items offered were actually genuine.
  • When reading the description and highlights of the coin or precious metal for sale there are often grammatical, spelling, or other major mistakes in the text of the advertisement.
  • The site shows other coins and precious metals for sale at below market prices on other platforms.

In addition to the red flags listed above, a major clue in the authenticity of a counterfeits website is the “About Us” section. In most cases the contact information may be only an email. Very few fraudulent sites include a physical address or phone number. However, if provided the information is usually bogus.

The following tips can help you avoid the scams of online coin and precious metal counterfeiting:

  • Buy from a reputable dealer such as members of the Professional Numismatist Guild (www.PNGdealers.org), Accredited Precious Metals Dealers (www.ACEFdealers.org) and the American Numismatic Association, (www.money.org), or your local trusted dealer.
  • Buy from the company’s official website.
  • Do your homework when shopping on e-commerce platforms. Utilize the red flags described above to ensure the legitimacy of the seller.
  • Do not be influenced by below-market low prices.

The counterfeiting of coins and precious metals is a global problem. The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation is aggressively working with all levels of law enforcement to target, identify and prosecute criminal enterprises selling counterfeit coins and precious metals.

“The work of the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force is supported entirely by donations made to the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation, a non-profit corporation,” emphasized ACEF Executive Director Robert Brueggeman. “The donations, large or small, are making a difference to help prevent collectors, dealers and the general public from becoming victims of fakes.”

Monetary contributions can be made online at www.ACEFonline.org/donate or by check mailed to ACEF, 28441 Rancho California Rd., Ste. 106, Temecula, CA 92590. For additional information about donating, contact ACEF Executive Director Brueggeman at info@ACEFonline.org.

Three Numismatic Groups Admonish Facebook About Ads Offering Counterfeits

Social media giant has not responded to warnings that the “platform continues to be used to lure gullible buyers of counterfeits”

September 20, 2021 — 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 (www.ACEFonline.org), Numismatic Guaranty Company (www.NGCcoin.com) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.org) sent their joint letter on August 19, 2021 to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, chairman & 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, Numismatic Guaranty Company 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.”

Here is the full text of the joint letter signed by Davis, Salzberg and Brueggeman.

Facebook Joint Letter

Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation Helps Dealers at TNA Coin Convention 2021

June 5, 2021. Doug Davis, Director, Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation, David Lisot, Interviewer, CoinTelevision.com.

Numismatics is being plagued by major counterfeiting problem. Dealers across America are having to cope with bogus coins many originating in China. The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation has a task force to help educate dealers about the problem. Doug Davis is Director of that organization and talks about his latest efforts to combat the problem.

https://youtu.be/bEyN1g5HXDU

ACEF Gives Assistance in Seizures of 40,000+ Counterfeits

If genuine, the intercepted counterfeits would have a retail value of about $2 million

(Temecula, CA) June 1, 2021 – Representatives of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (www.ACEFonline.org) and its Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (ACTF) on the request of the Secret Service provided on-site numismatic expertise to federal law enforcement agents in the Los Angeles area who seized more than 40,000 fake Morgan and Peace dollars, American Eagle silver bullion coins and $2½ Indian Head gold coins.

Some of the approximately 1,700 packages of seized counterfeit coin shipments that were at the International Mail Facility in Torrance, California. (Photo courtesy of Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation.)

“The counterfeits were intercepted from overseas shipments and seized during a two-month joint investigation by the Secret Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” explained ACEF Anti-Counterfeiting Director Doug Davis who flew from Dallas, Texas to California to assist investigators.

He and task force volunteer Lee Minshull of Palos Verdes, California, a long-time member of the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.org), met with federal investigators at the International Mail Facility in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance, California. That is where approximately 1,700 packages of seized counterfeit coin shipments were stored.

“There were numerous wheeled carts filled with packages that contained coins seized during the eight-week targeting operation. We were told that each package contained an average of 27 to 32 coins, all of them counterfeits,” said Davis.

“The quality of the hundreds of counterfeits we personally examined varied from good to very good, especially the counterfeit silver American Eagles,” stated Minshull.

Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force volunteer Lee Minshull and a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol official are shown here as they began examining some of the more than 40,000 fake coins seized by federal and postal authorities in the Los Angeles area. (Photo courtesy of Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation.)

“It appears that the fakes we saw probably were made by three different counterfeit manufacturers. If they were genuine, the retail value of these 40,000-plus coins would be over $2 million,” added Minshull.

Davis said the coordination between ACEF/ACTF, Secret Service, and Customs and Border protection “provided valuable intelligence information that supports our work in exposing the widespread proliferation of counterfeit coinage and precious metals into the U.S. marketplace. Most importantly the success of this operation provides us with evidence to continue educating the higher-up administration within Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection and other law enforcement agencies about the growing problem of counterfeits.”

He added: “We will be providing Secret Service with a report of our evaluation. Secret Service was very appreciative of our assistance and willingness to travel at short notice to assist in the investigation. We could not say anything publicly about this operation earlier until federal agents finished part of their investigation.”

This is only one of many cases during the past 12 months in which ACTF has provided numismatic experts to assist Secret Service and other Federal law enforcement agencies on counterfeit cases stretching across the United States.

“ACEF is playing an important role in aggressively identifying counterfeit manufacturers, organized groups, individuals, e-commerce, and social platforms selling counterfeit coins and precious metals. Most importantly, is the resources and experts ACEF has at its disposal to assist local, state, and federal agencies during the investigative process and enhances expeditious indictments and prosecution,” Davis emphasized.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation and its volunteer task force depend entirely on the support of the numismatic profession and the hobby community. ACEF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

Monetary contributions can be made online at www.acefonline.org/donate or by check sent to ACEF, 28441 Rancho California Rd., Ste 106, Temecula, CA 92590.

For additional information, contact ACEF Executive Director Brueggeman at info@acefonline.org.

Silver Rush Creates Silver Scams

Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation warns of surge in fake “silver” coins offered online

(Temecula, California) February 11, 2021 — 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 (www.ACEFonline.org).

“The Chinese are blowing up the web selling fake silver dollars. We’ve seen suspicious ads posted on many platforms, including Amazon and Facebook,” cautioned Doug Davis, ACEF Anti-Counterfeiting Director.

“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.

Popular with collectors and investors, genuine Morgan silver dollars, such as this one, were produced by the United States Mint between 1878 and 1921 but beware of counterfeits in the marketplace. (Photo courtesy of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.)

Morgan dollars are named after their designer, George T. Morgan, and were struck by the United States 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. Unfortunately, some unsuspecting buyers are becoming victims of online scams by unscrupulous sellers,” said Richard Weaver, President of the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.org).

“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,” explained Weaver.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation 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 (www.NGCcoin.com) 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 (www.money.org) and the Professional Numismatists Guild.

“The important work of the foundation and the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force 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 info@ACEFonline.org or visit the web site at www.ACEFonline.org.

Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation Warns Feds About Online “Coin” Seller

(Temecula, California) December 23, 2020 — Promptly acting on a tip from a concerned collector, the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation’s (www.ACEFonline.org) Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (ACTF) has notified law enforcement agencies and online shopping platform Amazon.com about a seller who is in apparent violation of federal laws involving reproductions of rare coins.

The seller using the name SeTing offered nine reproductions of coins and fantasy dates, but none of the accompanying coin images indicated any of the items were properly marked “COPY” as mandated by the Hobby Protection Act.

The offered items included replicas of a 1794 Flowing Hair dollar, an 1804 Draped Bust dollar and a 1915 Indian Head Quarter Eagle ($5). There was also a fantasy piece resembling a Trade Dollar but with the date 1791 and a Carson City mint mark that was identified by the seller as “Old Original Morgan Dollar.” Genuine U.S. Trade Dollars were struck from 1873 to 1885 and Morgan silver dollars were produced between 1878 and 1921.

Prices for the “coins” ranged from $2.99 to $3.29 plus an additional $3.98 shipping.

A hobbyist who saw the online listings sent a complaint about the seller to members of the American Numismatic Association Board of Governors, some former ANA officers, the United States Mint and to several numismatic publications and numismatic information websites. ANA Past President Gary Adkins forwarded the email complaint to former Texas Police Chief Doug Davis, ACEF Director of Anti-Counterfeiting.

“The timely ‘heads up’ tip from the concerned collector is greatly appreciated. These six items are in apparent violation of both the Hobby Protection Act and Title 18 of the U.S. Code involving counterfeiting and forgery of United States coins. The task force has reported the information to the appropriate federal agencies and Amazon,” said Davis.

“ACTF currently monitors over 200 websites and social media platforms selling counterfeit coins and precious metals across the country and around the world.

Intelligence information is forwarded to the Secret Service and Treasury Department Office of the Inspector General. ACTF also assists all levels of law enforcement in counterfeit case development for prosecution,” he explained.

“The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation is aggressively seeking legislation on the state level to provide local law enforcement officers with statutes seeking criminal penalties for the possession, manufacture and distribution of counterfeit coins and precious metals,” said ACEF Executive Director Robert Brueggeman. “However, to address these problems requires the support of the numismatic community. The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation that operates solely upon donations.”

Monetary contributions can be made online at www.acefonline.org/donate or by check mailed to ACEF, 28441 Rancho California Rd., Ste. 106, Temecula, CA 92590. For additional information about donating, contact ACEF Executive Director Brueggeman at info@ACEFonline.org.

Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation Helps Rid Marketplace of $1+ Million of Fakes in 2020

(Temecula, California) December 10, 2020 – Funded only by donations, the nonprofit Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (www.ACEFonline.org) worked with law enforcement agencies in 2020 to protect collectors, dealers and the general public by helping remove from the marketplace over $1 million of counterfeit rare coins and precious metals items, according to a year-end update from the foundation.

Among the cases, ACEF and its Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (ACTF) assisted Customs and Border Protection investigators in seizing over 1,500 counterfeit silver American Eagles at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and aided two investigations by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) involving the seizure of fake rare coins valued at over $450,000.

“ACEF/ACTF has become a central repository for offenses related to counterfeit coins and precious metals. We’ve developed a searchable database for offenses and intelligence information and are continually providing a tool for law enforcement to identify trends, patterns, suspects, manufacturers, as well as uncovering websites and social media platforms offering counterfeits,” explained Doug Davis, ACEF Director of Anti-Counterfeiting.

“The ACEF Task Force has over 80 active cases being reviewed and investigated. During 2020 we assisted law enforcement agencies in locating and seizing over $1 million dollars in counterfeit coins and precious metals,” said Davis who conducted a half dozen anti-counterfeiting seminars for law enforcement officers across the country during the past year.

ACEF also is currently assisting Treasury OIG with three cases involving elderly victims who unsuspectingly bought counterfeit coins housed in fake NGC and PCGS holders sold by a telemarketing firm.

With assistance from the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation, New Jersey legislators are considering a law that would impose criminal penalties for anyone selling counterfeit coins and precious metals.

“To effectively combat counterfeits, all states need to have statutes that address counterfeit coins and precious metals and provide criminal penalties. This would allow local, county and state law enforcement officers the tools to investigate, arrest and prosecute counterfeit coin and precious metal cases at a state level. ACEF is in the process of identifying states that do not have current statutes and providing legislators with a model bill for review and adoption,” said Davis.

“The work of the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force is supported entirely by donations made to the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation, a non-profit corporation,” emphasized ACEF Executive Director Robert Brueggeman. “The donations, large or small, are making a difference to help prevent collectors, dealers and the general public from becoming victims of fakes.”

A section of the educational exhibit of confiscated counterfeit coins displayed by the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation in cooperation with U.S. Homeland Security at the 2018 ANA World’s Fair of Money. (Photo credit: Donn Pearlman.)

Monetary contributions can be made online at www.acefonline.org/donate or by check mailed to ACEF, 28441 Rancho California Rd., Ste. 106, Temecula, CA 92590. For additional information about donating, contact ACEF Executive Director Brueggeman at info@ACEFonline.org.

NGC Experts Join Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation Team to Fight Fakes

Temecula, California) December 7, 2020 – Authentication experts from Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (www.NGCcoin.com) are now assisting the nonprofit Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (www.ACEFonline.org) in the ongoing fight against rare coin and bullion-related fakes in the marketplace.

“NGC is now the official authentication service for the foundation and its Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force. ACEF assists federal, state, and local law enforcement as well as prosecutors to fight counterfeiting and the sales of counterfeit coins. This important work has resulted in the seizure of thousands of fakes and the apprehension and conviction of sellers of counterfeit items,” explained ACEF Executive Director Robert Brueggeman.

“In addition to the foundation’s volunteer expert network, under a recently signed three-year agreement we also have added the knowledgeable services of NGC’s world-class numismatic experts. ACEF considers the alliance with NGC as a natural progression because both organizations are extensively involved in curtailing the amount of counterfeits we see in the market,” said Brueggeman.

NGC is the world’s largest third-party grading service for coins, tokens, and medals, and is the official grading service for the American Numismatic Association (www.money.org) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.org). Since 1987, NGC has authenticated and graded more than 48 million coins, each backed by the industry-leading NGC Guarantee of authenticity and grade.

“NGC is honored to be named the official grading and authentication service of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation,” stated Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman and Grading Finalizer. “This appointment reflects NGC’s longstanding leadership position in counterfeit detection, a result of our world-class team of experts and state-of-the-art technology.”

Collectors, dealers and the general public can assist in the fight against fakes.

“See it? Report it!,” advised former Police Chief Doug Davis, ACEF Director of Anti-Counterfeiting. “If you have information about a counterfeit, you can easily go to the ACEF website, www.ACEFonline.org, and click on the Counterfeit Alert tab, www.acefonline.org/counterfeit-alert/report-a-counterfeit.”

“The important work of the foundation and the task force is supported entirely by donations,” explained Brueggeman. “The ACEF is a 501(c)(3) corporation and all donations to ACEF are tax-deductible.”

For additional information or to make a donation, contact the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation by phone at 817-723-7231, by email info@ACEFonline.org or visit the web site at www.ACEFonline.org.

Texas Bullion Depository Security Officials Learn About Numismatic Fakes

Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation and U.S. Treasury OIG conduct educational seminar

(Leander, Texas) October 2, 2020 – The opening of the Texas Bullion Depository in the Austin suburb of Leander earlier this year has provided opportunities for investors to safely secure their precious metal coins and ingots but also raised potential problems of storing counterfeit items.

Representatives of the nonprofit Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (www.ACEFonline.org) and the United States Treasury Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently conducted an educational seminar at the depository for more than a dozen of the agency’s security staff and law enforcement officers from across Texas.

“The depository’s security force for the depository is composed of state-commissioned peace officers from the Texas State Comptroller’s office, the state agency responsible for oversight of the depository. Due to their lack of experience in numismatics, the Comptroller’s office reached out to ACEF for training after seeing an increase in counterfeits being shipped to the facility,” said Doug Davis, Director of the ACEF Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force.

Doug Davis setting up

Doug Davis setting up counterfeits display

Davis and OIG Senior Special Agent Chris Hersey of Washington, D.C. conducted an eight-hour class at the depository, “Numismatic Crime, Counterfeit Coinage and Precious Metals Investigations.”

“We provided the attendees with the basic knowledge, tools, and resources to effectively investigate numismatic crimes related to counterfeit coinage and precious metals. One highlight of the seminar was a hands-on examination of a large display of seized counterfeit coins and ingots,” explained Davis.

The Texas Bullion Depository is the first state-administered depository established in the United States and is the only public depository with its own police force. The facility in Leander, Texas opened in February 2020 with vaults capable of holding 41 million ounces of silver and 120,000 ounces of gold.

OIG Senior Special Agent Chris Hersey

OIG Senior Special Agent Chris Hersey

The anti-counterfeiting class held September 28 in Texas is one of many resources and strategic initiatives by ACEF in working with federal, state and local agencies to combat counterfeit coinage and precious metals within the numismatic hobby and profession as well as elsewhere in the U.S. marketplace.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation and the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force are supported entirely by donations. The ACEF is a 501(c)(3) corporation and all donations to ACEF are tax deductible.

For additional information or to donate, contact the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation at 28441 Rancho California Road, Suite 106, Temecula, CA 92590. The phone number is 951-587-8300. Or visit the web site at www.ACEFonline.org.

Attempt Made to Sell Fake $300,000 Gold Coin

Seller is suspect in another counterfeits case

(Temecula, California) July 14, 2020 — Acting on a tip from the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (www.ACEFonline.org), federal and local California law enforcement agents now are investigating the attempted sale of $400,000 of counterfeit coins including a fake example of the historic 1879 Coiled Hair gold $4 “Stella” that brought $300,000 at auction last year. The seller also is a suspect in an earlier case involving fakes, according to Doug Davis, Director of the ACEF Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (ACTF).

The bogus Stella was housed in a counterfeit Numismatic Guaranty Corporation holder with a fake insert label printed with the same NGC PR63 grade and certification number as the genuine coin.

Davis, a former Texas Police Chief, has alerted the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) and is assisting investigators in this case.

“The seller of these counterfeits is on our radar and we’re after him no matter how long it takes. In the meantime, these fakes are off the market. They were turned over as evidence and are now in the custody of detectives at the Irvine, California Police Department,” Davis stated.

“We were alerted to this case by Ryan Moretti of Orange County California who is the senior numismatist of Colorado-based American Rarities. He was contacted by an individual offering to sell several expensive coins allegedly in NGC holders, including the 1879 Coiled Hair $4 Stella of which only about dozen genuine examples are known,” said Davis.

The other counterfeit coins offered by the seller were a 1793 AMERICA Chain cent, NGC VF20; an 1800 Draped Bust dollar, NGC AU58; and an 1871-CC Seated Liberty dollar, NGC AU55.

When he received the coins, Moretti suspected based on his years of experience as a professional numismatist that they and the NGC holders were counterfeit. The suspicions were confirmed after inspection by other numismatic experts including NGC representatives.

“When we entered the suspect’s name into the ACTF crime and intelligence database it linked him to another case in which he reportedly attempted to sell counterfeit coins to a Minnesota dealer in December 2019. ACTF alerted agents with the Minnesota Department of Commerce and U.S. Treasury OIG. Those coins were seized and a joint investigation is currently continuing,” explained Davis.

Federal and local investigators are reviewing both the Minnesota and California cases to determine appropriate jurisdiction to initiate prosecution against the suspect for possession and distribution of counterfeits with the intent to defraud.

“Well-made fakes are flooding the U.S. marketplace and the integrity of the numismatic community is under attack. These recent cases spotlight the significant technological advancements of counterfeiters and their agents as well as the all-too-easy availability for the sale of fake coins and precious metals housed in counterfeit third-party authentication and grading holders,” Davis cautioned.

“The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation and it’s Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force will continue its vigorous commitment to protecting the numismatic profession and collectors from adversaries who manufacture and sell counterfeit coins and precious metals. And, we’ll continue to educate the public to encourage them to only work with reputable dealers,” said Davis.

The ACEF and the task force are supported entirely by donations. The ACEF is a 501(c)(3) corporation and all donations to ACEF are tax deductible.”

For additional information or to make a donation, contact the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation at 28441 Rancho California Road, Suite 106, Temecula, CA 92590. The phone number is 951-587-8300. Or visit the web site at www.acefonline.org.

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