Minnesota Commerce Department warns against precious metals investment scams

ST.PAUL, MN– The Minnesota Department of Commerce is warning Minnesotans about an investment scheme targeting elderly residents across the nation.

Metals.com is an unregistered California-based precious metals company that is cold-calling elderly residents to convince them that their money is not safe with registered brokers and investment advisers, and say it should be moved into precious metal investments.

The state of Texas issued an emergency cease and desist order against Metals.com on May 1, 2019. According to the order, representatives of Metals.com were targeting older adults, and advising them to sell their securities and invest in precious metals through a self-directed IRA.

One of the victims, an 80-year-old Dallas woman, liquidated $850,000 in retirement funds and invested with the company. According to the order, the woman was unaware that Metals.com was moving her money into a self-directed IRA.

Officials say Metals.com is not currently licensed as a bullion products dealer or investment advisor in the state of Minnesota, and as such, the Department of Commerce issued a cease and desist order on May 16, 2019 to prevent Metals.com from making any transactions involving bullion products or investments in the state.

Commerce offers the following tips for Minnesotans to protect themselves against financial exploitation:

  • Challenge fear tactics. Scammers exploit fears of a big economic downturn and claim their product will provide financial protection. Do not let fear distract you from making a sound decision.
  • Do not fall for a sales pitch that creates a false sense of urgency. You should always take time to make an informed decision.
  • Avoid investments that are pitched as having no risk or offering unrealistic returns. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Stay in control. When investing, be wary of anyone who suggests putting your money in something you do not understand or anyone who urges you to leave everything in their hands.
  • As with any investment decision, ask questions and understand the risks involved. Carefully research the investment and read any recent reports that the company has filed with the SEC.
  • Check with the Commerce Department to see if the bullion products dealer or the investment advisor is registered to do business in Minnesota.

If you believe you may have been the victim of a scam or fraud, you can contact the Commerce Department’s by clicking here(consumer.protection@state.mn.us), or by calling 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).

Natalie Grant

Natalie Grant

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