All that glitters

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The BCP Business Center is here to help you comply with applicable laws.  But we’re also committed to protecting business owners from deception.  That’s why it’s important you have accurate information if you’re thinking about investing in precious metals.  An ongoing FTC law enforcement action suggests that potential investors should step on the brakes if salespeople tout big money and low risks.

According to the FTC, American Precious Metals ran high-pressure boiler rooms and used misrepresentations and deceptive omissions to sell purported precious metals.  The lawsuit alleges that the company’s telemarketers cold-called consumers and promoted precious metals as profitable, low-risk investments — and even claimed people would quickly double or triple their money.  The FTC says the company generated more than $37 million in revenues from the scheme.

Despite the company’s polished sales presentations and glossy brochures, the FTC alleges that American Precious Metals’ customers wound up with investments that were neither profitable nor low-risk.  According to the complaint, American Precious Metals actually sold people risky leveraged investments and charged hefty undisclosed fees, commissions, and financing charges.

The case is still pending, but there’s a silver lining:  Finding that there’s good cause to believe the FTC will succeed on the merits of its claims, a federal court in Florida has already entered a preliminary injunction against American Precious Metals, LLC, and its principals, Harry Tanner, Andrea Tanner, and Sam Goldman.

If you’re thinking about sinking cash into any kind of investment, what’s the FTC’s advice?  Americans from every walk of life can be susceptible to a smooth sales pitch.  Busy executives — especially those accustomed to making quick decisions and relying on professionals who claim to have specialized expertise — are no exception.  These traits can be exploited by slick salespeople who pose as skilled, experienced brokers and claim to offer individualized investment advice.

How can you unearth whether a precious metal investment offer is the real deal?  You don’t need to be an alchemist.  Read Investing in Gold? What’s the Rush?, Investing in Bullion and Bullion Coins, and Investing in Collectible Coins before making any decisions.

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