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Investing in precious metals is seen as a very smart decision by many financial experts. Precious metals are rare and highly sought-after around the globe. Adding them to your portfolio allows you to diversify your holdings and protect yourself against stock market volatility.
Historically, precious metals have performed well and increased in value. Plus, if or when you're ready to sell your investments for cash, you will be able to do so without issue. Since precious metals are so highly coveted across the globe, finding a buyer should not be an issue, and you can likely walk away with cash the same day if you'd like.
The decision to invest in precious metals is a pretty easy one when you look at all the promise they hold. However, the decision about which company to work with is not so easy. There are countless precious metals investment companies, and it can be really difficult to weed out the best ones from the numerous options out there.
Metals.com is one company you may have heard about. Today, we're going to take a closer look at what Metals.com offers and whether they're a legitimate company you can trust with your business.
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Metals.com was first started in 2008 and quickly grew to be a well-known precious metals dealer in the United States. The company dealt only with physical bullion. Metals.com is also referred to as Chase Metals, Tower Equity, and Barrick Capital.
They helped users purchase gold or silver coins or bars that could be shipped directly to their home. Metals.com also offered IRA services and worked with IRA custodians to help their clients set up a new Precious Metals IRA or rollover an existing retirement account into a Precious Metals IRA.
Over the first 10+ years the company was in business, Metals.com was widely seen as a trustworthy and powerful company. They held many high reviews from customers and were featured by various companies and organizations as a top choice for those looking to diversify their portfolio and invest in precious metals.
However, their reputation went on a downward spiral in 2020 when claims came out about Metals.com defrauding customers. In September, 2020, Metals.com was placed under a receivership and their assets were frozen. We'll explore more about exactly what was going on in the next few sections below.
At this time, Metals.com's website is not active. When you type in the web address, it redirects you to a page describing the receivership and deadlines to participate in the case against the company. The website also explicitly tells investors that any communications they receive from metals.com or barrickcapital.com are in violation of court orders and should be disregarded.
Are There Any Red Flags for Metals.com?
Sadly, there are numerous red flags for Metals.com. As we mentioned above, their website is not currently active. The site has been shut down due to the company being put in a receivership after complaints against the company.
These complaints were not minor, either. Metals.com is being investigated for defrauding at least 1,600 people in the country for more than $185 million dollars. The claims state that metals.com sold these individuals precious metals at prices that were up to 300 percent higher than the market price at the time.
Checking reviews from reputable review sites can also provide additional information about Metals.com and red flags for working with this company. Unlike many other gold investment companies, they are/were not a BBB accredited business.
Metals.com also has an F rating from both the Better Business Bureau and Business Consumer Alliance. Seeing a B or C rating for a company, when the highest ratings possible are A+ (BBB) or AAA (Business Consumer Alliance) is troubling enough. But when you see an F rating it is a definite sign that you should stay away from the company.
The Better Business Bureau's website also lists 24 complaints against Metals.com in just the last three years. Over half of these complaints were about products or services provided by the company, but many also referenced issues with Metals.com's advertising and sales policies or problems with delivery of items that had been ordered.
Is Metals.com a Scam?
While it can be tricky to determine if a company is actually a scam or just one with subpar business practices or customer service, it seems safe to say that Metals.com is a scam. The company is facing litigation for fraud against at least 1,600 people in the country. The total for the fraud charges they are facing totals over $185 million. With these numbers, it certainly appeals that Metals.com is a scam company you will want to stay far away from.
Reading through reviews of the company, it appears that many of the targets of their fraud were elderly individuals. Many stories have come out about seniors being convinced to invest a large portion of their savings into precious metals or Precious Metals IRAS based on false claims from a representative at Metals.com. The company was not honest about how the investment process worked, the taxes that would be assessed, and other details that should be explained when making an investment.
To help you get an idea of the fraud that was occurring, below are a few stories shared by customers (or their loved ones) that were victims of the scam.
One daughter shared that her elderly mother, who had recently lost her husband, was preyed up by Metals.com. The company contacted her on multiple occasions and told her that her money was not safe in a bank and that she could lose all of her savings if she left them in a bank. They relentlessly pressured her into buying gold and silver coins and sold them to her for significantly more than the market price.
Once the daughter found out about the investment and got involved, it took her about two months to even talk to someone from the company. Once she got in touch with a sales representative, they told her they would be able to liquidate her mother's investment, but the price quoted was $50,000 less than the amount she had initially invested. Given that gold and silver fluctuate in price, this may be understandable, however since the time her mother had invested the price of gold and silver had actually significantly increased.
Another daughter shared that her elderly father had lost $250,000 after being coerced by Metals.com to invest in precious metals. They made false claims about guaranteed high returns from investing which convinced him to move nearly all of his funds to Metals.com. After their false claims proved untrue, her father is now left with no money to cover his living expenses or medical care.
Why You Should Stay Away from Metals.com
As of right now, even if you wanted to invest with Metals.com, doing so would not be possible. The website is shut down and the company is prohibited from contacting customers. However, if that were to somehow change, you absolutely should not invest any money with Metals.com.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), along with 30 states, filed suit against Metals.com in September of 2020. This is the largest join filing between state regulators and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in history, which should tell you something about how serious the charges are. Metals.com is being sued for soliciting over $185 million from investors to purchase overpriced bullion.
The suit against Metals.com indicates that the fraud started in 2017, or possibly earlier. The case explains that of the $185 million scammed from customers, at least $140 million came from retirement savings accounts.
Metals.com was deceitful and coercive in convincing individuals to purchase precious metals, and then sold the precious metals at very inflated prices that were not near the actual market prices. In some cases, the markup was up to 300 percent more than the actual market price.
Metals.com specifically targeted the elderly who did not have knowledge or experience relating to investing in precious metals. After 'investing' with Metals.com, these individuals ended up losing nearly all of the money they invested.
What Products Did Metals.com Offer
When Metals.com was still in business, they offered gold and silver bullion. Investors could choose to purchase coins or bars for a personal investment or to add to a precious Metals IRA.
A few of the coins and bars that were available through Metals.com included:
Silver Bars and Rounds
Metals.com was an e-commerce site where individuals could purchase the products they wanted on their own. They had options to add the silver coins or bars you were interested in to your shopping cart, adjust the quantities you would like to purchase, enter your shipping details and payment information, and checkout without needing to talk with a representative.
However, you could also purchase precious metals directly through one of the representatives by calling to speak with them. Representatives would also assist with setting up Precious Metals IRAs and working with IRA custodian companies.
Pros & Cons of Metals.com
Investing in precious metals can be a good choice to help diversify your portfolio. However, you absolutely do not want to choose to invest with Metals.com. This company is a scam that is currently being sued by 30 states and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for defrauding customers of at least $185 million. There are plenty of legitimate investment companies where you can feel comfortable and safe investing your hard-earned money in gold, silver, and other precious metals.
Although we do think that Metals.com is a solid company, we believe that there are better companies out there to make your investment with.
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