Red Rock Secured is one of many companies offering precious metals IRA services. They help you safeguard your retirement assets by securing them in precious metals. This is a highly competitive niche, and it's also full of fraudulent companies. How does Red Rock Secured fit into the mix?
At first glance, they seem to be a solid company. They have a great rating with the BBB and excellent reviews on Consumer Affairs. In fact, customers seem to give them universal praise. So what could possibly go wrong?
You might be shocked by what we've discovered. And you'll definitely want to read on before you decide to invest with this company.
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About Red Rock Secured
Before we get into the gory details, let's take a look at what Red Rock Secured is and what the company offers.
This company is privately owned and headquartered in the southern part of California. They say that their main goal is to educate clients, provide ideal and secure products, and give people good customer service. They also say that they value integrity and honesty above everything else.
Their website links to the customer reviews on several pages, including the Business Consumer Alliance, Better Business Bureau, and Trustpilot.
All this discussion of honesty and integrity makes it very odd that nearly all of the reviews they link to are fake. But we'll get to that.
The company talks a big game about their policies and values. They say that their experts can help teach people about the precious metals industry and give you advice on the right strategy for your retirement portfolio. If you give the company a call, supposedly, you'll get insights on how to diversify your portfolio for your personal goals.
The company says another one of their main values is protection. They make a guarantee that if you invest using their products, your portfolio will never lose all of its value. That's their wording: The portfolio won't ever be worth 0 dollars. If you pay 16,000 dollars for it, and it's worth 1 dollar, they technically haven't lied.
They say that investments are high risk but high reward. Then they expand upon this by saying that they make an effort to protect their clients so that they're shielded from the risk. This assertion is a little strange, since most people turn to precious metals when they want a sense of security rather than a big risk.
The company does have a large educational database available through its website. It offers information about the precious metals industry, data about the history of different product prices, and general knowledge about portfolio diversification.
They name client care as a top value. Apparently, they are more invested in their clients' wellbeing than in making sales. While that isn't what we've found through third party investigation, they do claim that they will be trustworthy, communicate well, and act with honesty. They say that they only consider themselves a success if their clients are successful.
The final value on the website is portfolio diversification. The company says that it's best to diversify your assets if you want to protect your wealth. They say that their products will help you diversify, though they don't explain how much they'll encourage you to invest.
Gold IRA Services
Like several other companies, Red Rock Secured focuses on precious metals IRAs. You can use your retirement assets to purchase IRS-approved precious metals for your retirement account. They must be stored in a licensed facility, and they must comply with all the paperwork and regulations.
This can sometimes seem too overwhelming to deal with, especially if you're new to precious metals investing. It's hard to pick a storage depository, a custodian, and a broker for your deal. That's without even getting into the paperwork required for transferring and setting up an account.
So companies like Red Rock Secured are built to help with that.
Red Rock Secured doesn't offer a lot of information on their website about the account setup process for a gold IRA. They say that you should contact them or give them a call if you're interested in getting set up.
They do say that they work with licensed custodial partners. When you want to open an account, they will help you transfer your funds from your existing 401(k) or other retirement account into your precious metals IRA.
One potential red flag is that they refer to stocks as "uncertain paper investments." While this is technically true, it seems like they're implying that precious metals are a better investment than stocks. In actuality, investment experts recommend investing just a small portion of your assets in metals.
This is because precious metals protect you against inflation and stock market crashes, but they don't pay dividends. If you want investments that will actually pay returns that you can live on, you'll want to work with a mix of stocks and metals.
Once you open your account with them, you'll be assigned an expert who will give you advice on your investments. They will provide insights about the precious metals that work best for your goals, and then they'll give you concrete recommendations.
But there's evidence that these salespeople work on commission. Commission-based sales are bad news for the client. When an employee makes money for what they sell, they'll happily tell you whatever you want to hear in order to take more money from you. Not only that, but they might give you bad advice regarding the distribution of your assets.
You have full control over a gold IRA, unlike traditional IRAs managed by investment experts. That means you won't have anyone to warn you if you're making a bad investment. And the company washes their hands of any loss you might incur from purchasing precious metals.
The company states that there are "loopholes" in the IRS guidelines that allow you to get away with tax-advantaged choices. In actuality, these are just normal aspects of how the IRS retirement guidelines work.
The first "loophole" is that you can transfer assets without any penalties. If you have assets invested in stocks and bonds, you can convert them into precious metals. There aren't penalties for early withdrawal.
This seems to imply that the company will encourage you to convert all of your existing retirement assets into precious metals. As mentioned, you don't want to do that.
The next "loophole" is privacy. The company states that you can store your metals in an IRS-approved facility close to you. That's technically true, but there aren't many licensed depositories in the US. They tend to be few and far between. Many people are just lucky to get storage options in their general region.
The company also says that your investment is totally private. It's true that you are exempt from certain tax declarations with regards to precious metals. But the idea that the IRS won't know about your holdings is absurd. You have to comply with IRS paperwork and work with an IRS-approved custodian. And you will have to pay taxes when you start taking distributions.
Every product the company sells is insured through Lloyd's of London, which is one of the top global precious metals insurers. The company states that you can convert all of your assets into precious metals so you're no longer at risk of hacking or theft. Bad plan!
The company does not provide any details about their own fees. They mention that they sometimes work with Kingdom Trust as a custodian. Custodians have their own account setup and maintenance fees, which are usually charged annually.
The company also doesn't explain what storage facilities they work with. They use vague wording on their website to imply that you can store precious metals in a gold IRA at home. But this isn't true at all. It is illegal to store IRA precious metals anywhere except a licensed and registered storage facility in the US.
Is Red Rock Secured a Scam?
At first glance, we would say that this company has nothing to hide. They have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, extremely high BBB customer reviews, and excellent reviews on Consumer Affairs.
But here's where things get interesting.
On Trustlink, the company has an average rating of just 1.4 out of 5 stars, with 49 reviews posted. One of the most recent reviews is an employee alleging serious misconduct that they say meets the criteria for criminal liability.
Then there are several previously-positive reviews that have been left intact... except that the star rating has been changed to 1. And each has the same heading: THIS IS A FAKE REVIEW.
It's extremely likely that the former employee did this to expose the false review-garnering scheme of the company. Whatever the case, this page throws the Consumer Affairs and BBB reviews into serious doubt. There's no way for us to judge who left a legitimate review and who is just a company plant.
So let's take a look at what this former employee had to say about the company's alleged activities.
Former Employee Allegations
The complaint on Trustlink opens by stating that the reviewer previously worked with this company. They say that they are writing the review because they need to expose the dangerous, fraudulent practices that the company engages in.
The complainant alleges that not only does the company charge commission fees of anywhere from 50 to 80 percent, but they also purposefully defraud and mislead their clients. They say that the company preys upon senior clients who are easily confused and can be persuaded into misleading verbal contracts.
The reviewer stated that they have more than a decade of experience in the precious metals industry, but they've never seen more deceptive or intentionally malicious business practices. The company's sales representatives use misleading information to leverage 80 percent commissions from their clients.
Now, depending on how the representatives do this, it might not qualify as criminal fraud. There's no way to gauge whether the company has engaged in prosecutable criminal activity based on this review. But the reviewer alleges that they have participated in investment fraud, interstate commerce fraud, and general financial fraud crimes.
The reviewer stated that there should be a criminal investigation opened into the company, and they should be prosecuted for maliciously plotting against the senior clients. The review goes on to say that anyone who has previously worked with the business should talk to their legal counsel right away about what can be done to get back their financial losses.
They said that anyone who has ever worked with this company should look at the final price they were charged and compare it to the actual market value of the products at the time. According to them, the cost might be double or triple the actual market value.
The reviewer said that the company should be held responsible and should right their wrongs by paying restitution to all former clients. They also said that they were treated badly as an employee, including wage theft and harassment on the job. But they wanted to pursue those complaints elsewhere.
They posted a desired resolution: The company should immediately restore and compensate the funds of all prior customers.
Red Rock Secured has not made any effort to respond to this complaint. They have also not responded to the altering of the many customer reviews, which might indicate that they are not aware of the activity. Alternatively, Trustlink might not allow them to remove the evidence of wrongdoing.
It's possible that this is just a disgruntled employee making things up because they're upset about being laid off. But the company's lack of response doesn't bode well. They should have an explanation, and they haven't offered one.
Plus, there's no way to explain the exposure of the fake reviews. Those reviews call into question every positive consumer review on the internet. We can't trust that the good experiences are actually true.
Even if these allegations aren't true, Red Rock Secured still isn't the best precious metals dealer on the market. There are plenty of dealers with better prices, more transparent fees, and customer reviews that are verifiably true. It's much better to work with one of those than to take a risk with this company.
Pros & Cons of Red Rock Secured
Red Rock Secured might not be a scam in the legal sense. It's possible that they have never participated in enough falsehoods to be prosecuted for criminal fraud. But that isn't enough to give them a pass, especially if we aren't sure it's true.
The most unnerving aspect of this company is the fake reviews that have been exposed on Trustlink. You'll find consistently excellent reviews on other third party sites, but the exposure of the fake reviews means they can't be trusted.
There is no easily accessible information regarding whether anyone has taken legal action against this company. The ex-employee complainant recommended that anyone who has worked with them examine their financial records and consult with legal counsel.
We'll echo that sentiment. If you've worked with the company before, make sure that you paid the right price for your metals. And if you haven't worked with them before, don't. Even if they're legitimate, they aren't the best out there. It's much better to invest with a company that you know has a good reputation in the industry.
We believe that there are better companies out there to make your investment with.
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