According to the American Numismatic Association (ANA), counterfeit coins are “flooding the market” as the U.S. sees an increased demand for bullion coins, such as the American Eagle, the South African Krugerrand, and the Canadian Maple Leaf.
“It’s a very serious problem and it’s really scary,” said the ANA’s education director, Rod Gillis. “With improved technology, the fakes are getting better. It’s gotten to the point where even people who deal with coins all the time may not be able to recognize a counterfeit coin right away.”
Veteran coin dealer Brad Karoleff has claimed that there is currently a large supply of bogus coins coming to the U.S. from China, and they have begun to look more and more authentic over the years. “At first they were laughable, but as they’ve become savvier, they’ve been making counterfeits that look much more like the real thing,” he said.
Experts warn coin collectors, saying that one could potentially pay upwards of $1,000 for a counterfeit one-ounce gold piece that is entirely worthless. Unfortunately, the buyer may not discover the scam until he tries to sell it.
“These sales of counterfeit coins are potentially a multi-million dollar problem for the public,” said Dana Samuelson, president of the Professional Numismatists Guild.
Some gold items are purer and more valuable than others. Pure gold is considered 24 karat. The coins being pedaled by counterfeiters? These are worth nothing.
Meanwhile, Rochester police are seeing an increase in counterfeit money circulating in the area. According to the Democrat and Chronicle, one dollar bills are turning into $100 bills as counterfeiters are “washing” the paper money and reprinting them. This printing process uses fabric that renders counterfeit detecting pens useless.
To check a bill for legitimacy, holders can tilt it and see if the numbers in the right corner change color. Experts say that new notes should change from a copper color to green. Additionally, a watermark and security thread should appear when the bill is held up to the light.