Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Coin Dealers and other Coin Collecting topics.
You've heard the online horror stories. Your nephew or niece accidentally viewed a porn site. Your best friend had that disastrous date with a hunk from an Internet dating site. So you're leery of finding coin dealers on the Web. True, you trust Amazon.com, but...
Not to worry. Most Internet coin dealers are legitimate, whenther you're looking for a US coin dealer, rare coin dealer, or ancient coin dealer. Just observe online dos and donts of coin dealer Googling.
* Google that coin dealer. You probably won't find anything negative, but it never hurts.
* Check with the Better Business Bureau online or RipOffReport.com.
* Check Epinions.com.
* Buy from coin dealers who advertise that they belong to the ANA as well as the major certification and authentication services, PCGS, ANACS, NGC, CCCS, ICG, PCI, NTC, and ACG.
* Get referrals from real-life and online hobbyists. While flaming in newsgroups is common, online hobbyists usually protect each other.
* Take advantage of that FAQ and customer service section. Bonus points if they have an online chat or call center.
* Check out their eBay auctions and what eBay users say about them.
* Buy from any dealer that uses spam.
* Buy coins without doing your homework. There are many excellent coin resource guides online.
* Bid at an online auction without having a set limit of how much you will bid.
* Take online newsgroup chatter as golden. Consider the source of pro or con recommendations.
* Buy from an individual seller without viewing photos of their coins. Take the photos to a numismatist or coin authentifcation service if possible.
* Give out any personal information. If they ask for your Social Security number, refuse and RUN.
* Buy from an online site that isn't secure. Look for the lock and key on the lower right of your browser. Most secure online coin dealers will announce that they have SSL encryption. They may be backed up by Verisign or TRUSTe to guard your privacy.
Buying online can be the ultimate in convenience...but remember your friend's tale of woe about the smooth Brad Pitt dead ringer who turned out to have two ex-wives and a drinking problem.