Our local paper today ran a full-page advertisment for World Reserve Monetary Exchange. (I'm sure the ad appeared in many other papers around the country.) While I am not calling this a scam I find these types of ads troubling because I think they prey on people's fears and ignorance. Draw your own conclusions.
At the top of the ad, sectioned off from the rest of the ad, is what at first glance appears to be a news article. (To comply with the law the words "PAID ADVERTISMENT" appear at the top of the ad.) The headline reads "Government regulators shutdown [sic] 19 banks" with a sub-headline reading "Hundreds more on watch list". A photo of a people outside an apparently closed bank has a caption reading, "LOCKED OUT: Stunned customers show up at this Californai bank only to find the bank is closed." The "article" reports that regulators have closed 19 banks so far this year and have over 100 banks on their watch list. SCARY STUFF!
The "article" includes a way for readers to find out if their bank is "safe". For only $18 "readers of today's newspaper can either call or visit a web site to get the safety ratings of banks and credit unions.
Below the "article" is a large ad (which could easily be mistaken for a news article) obviously targeting people that have been scared by the "news" reported in the "article" above that keeping your money in a bank may be unsafe. The headline reads, "Free armored safes being doled out to public". The sub-headline reads, "Public worry ends with just enough time left to beat the deadline to buy up new collection of brilliant never-circulated U.S. Gov't issued coins that never lose their cash value with free Armored Safes shipped to all". A photo shows row after row after row of safes with the caption, "HELP IS ON THE WAY". Smaller photos show a happy elderly woman taking delivery of her safe (the caption reads, "NO MORE WORRIES") and several rolls of Presidential Dollars and Jefferson Bison Nickels (the caption reads, LIKE WINNING THE LOTTERY").
The "article" starts off with a by line Shawn Oyler - Universal Media Syndicate. Sounds legitimate to the Average Joe. (Shawn Oyler is the by line on many such ads.)
"Imagine finally getting something that will never lose its value.
Sound too good to be true?
Well, it's true and word is quickly spreading about the free handout of Armored Safes filled with the never-before-seen World Reserve Collection of U.S. Gov't Coins. Each massive Collection contains 4,100 brilliant, never-circulated U.S. Gov't issued coins that by law will never be minted again."
The ad, er, article goes on to say, "Coin values above face value can always fluctuate and there are no guarantees. But, this massive Collection will nener, never, never lose its face value. You will always have something worth a lot of money." Well, that's reassuring.
Here's how the plan works. If you buy the 4,100 "U.S. Gov't issued, never-circulated" coins within the 72-hour deadline (read "HURRY! Buy now! Don't think about it! Time is running out!) World Reserve Monetary Exchange will throw in an "Armored Safe" for FREE!
HOW DO THEY DO IT????
The 4,100 coins you receive are $100 Presidential Dollars (face value = $100) and 4,000 Jefferson Bison Nickels (face value = $200). That is $300 worth of coins. These coins do not command a premium for an average collector who wants to sell these coins.
What does all this cost? "When you call you'll only need to cover the freight for the safe [no amount is specified] and $98 for the first months [sic] collection shipment then just $98 for each of the 18 monthly shipments to complete the entire collection of 4,100 U.S. Gov't coins." That's 19 payments of $98 for a total of $1,862 plus an unknown amount for freight. Sounds like you're gonna be paying $1,532 (plus freight) for that "FREE" Armored Safe.
A person that doesn't read this ad, er, article carefully may think they are getting 4,100 Presidential Dollars AND a free safe for less than half the face value of the coins themselves. (Just an observation. I'm not accusing nobody of nuttin.)
The ad, er, article also uses some fancy-sounding (and almost deceptive) verbiage, to wit: "100 Presidential Golden Dollar Coins in two sealed Ballistic Vault Rolls of 50 and 16 heavy vault bricks containing 160 sealed vault rolls of 25 never-circulated U.S. Buffalo Nickels". Where have I heard "Ballistic Vault Rolls" before? (That's right! I've seen ads for dollar coins in Ballistic Rolls in very similar-looking ads before.) And those "heavy vault bricks"? In the photo they look like gold-colored plastic shaped like gold bricks and are probably only heavy due to the 250 nickels contained in each one. And how about the 160 rolls of 25 Buffalo Nickels? The casual observer may think they are getting 4,000 uncirculated Indian Head Nickels. Since when do Presidential dollars come in 50-coin rolls and nickels come in 25-coin rolls? Do you think these coins have been cherrypicked? (I am not accusing anyone of any wrongdoing whatsoever here. I'm just asking questions.)
A quick Google search reveals that World Reserve Monetary Exchange also sells a "Presidential Safe" (40 payments of $109.88 = $4,395.20).
For some reason I think World Reserve Monetary Exchange is in the business of selling safes.
Bottom line - Many people who don't understand that these 4,100 coins are only worth face value will be led to paying $1,862 for $300 worth of coins and a safe of unknown value. Later, when they try to sell their coins that are "worth a lot of money" they will realize what a bad purchase they have made. And the hobby of coin collecting will get another black eye.