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The Safeguard Metals website looks like a well-organized and informative piece of marketing. At least until you find out that the SEC has accused half of the website of being fraudulent. How did Safeguard Metals end up in the middle of a multi-million dollar fraud conspiracy? And what complaints have past customers filed?
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About Safeguard Metals
Safeguard Metals is a precious metals company that works with gold IRAs. Supposedly, they can help you put your retirement funds into precious metals. This is a fairly common practice with precious metals dealers, and it's certainly not illegal. But lying about your qualifications and your products is illegal.
The Safeguard Metals website claims that the company employs financial advisors, but in actuality, only salespeople are employed. They also claim that you need to protect your assets against potential government collapse.
At a glance, nothing about the website is particularly out of place. That's why the fraud allegations are so startling.
Is Safeguard Metals a Scam?
This question really depends on how you define "scam."
If you mean that the customers did not receive the items they bought, then no, Safeguard Metals is not a scam. Customers did receive the precious metals that they bought, deposited directly into their self-directed IRAs.
But if you mean that the customers were lied to about what they were buying, how much it cost, and how they could sell it back... then Safeguard Metals might be a scam.
The might is important. The company has been charged with committing millions of dollars of fraud. But the case has yet to go to court, which means that none of the allegations are proven yet.
Here's a basic bullet list of the allegations:
Whew! That's quite a lot for one company to be charged with. And to make matters worse, the allegations state that most of those who were defrauded were elderly.
The business actually had their BBB accreditation revoked. Not just for the fraud charges, but also because they refused to respond to several official complaints filed against them. People who were wronged by this business are best off seeking legal action, because the management does not seem interested in solving any of the problems.
Let's explore some of the complaints.
There have been 12 complaints in the past three years. Eight of those are within the past year alone. Several of those have never been answered by the business.
Unanswered Unreturned Calls
The customer filed a complaint because the employee that opened their account was fired. Since he was let go, the customer could not get in contact with anyone at the business. No one would return their calls. And yet the customer was still receiving bills for services.
The customer had left seven voicemails the day before filing the complaint. The week before that, they had left five voicemails. The business had not called back.
All they wanted was to be contacted by the business. If they then canceled their services, well, that should have been fine. But Safeguard Metals has never responded to this complaint. It has been over five months since it was first filed.
Unable to Access Metals
A customer filed a complaint because they had purchased precious metals for an IRA about a year ago. But every time they wanted to liquidate their assets, the person on the phone would talk them out of doing this.
Safeguard Metals then broke off its partnership with Equity Institutional. Equity Institutional was functioning as the custodian of this customer's account. The customer had been emailing and calling every number they could find to get in contact with Safeguard Metals, but they never received a return call despite leaving many messages.
The customer said that they needed their money. But since Safeguard Metals wasn't the custodian, and since they only seemed interested in selling metals, no one would call the customer back. The customer warned others never to do business with Safeguard Metals, because the company would take your assets and then stop responding.
The business never responded to this complaint. It has been over six months since it was filed.
Unable to Sell Metals
One common complaint is that the customer isn't able to sell their precious metals. When they bought the metals, they were told that they could sell them easily when the time came to liquidate. But that wasn't actually true.
In fact, this complaint is so common that it is part of the official SEC complaint and fraud charges.
This customer had been trying for almost four months to sell their metals and have the cash transferred to them. They had called, left voicemails, and sent emails. No one had ever gotten back to them. They'd contacted everyone they were able to.
The customer provided their Equity Institutional account number and their Safeguard Metals account number. It should have been easy to facilitate the trade.
The company never responded to this complaint.
A customer left a complaint about a pushy salesman who cold called her over the phone. He told her that a self-directed IRA would be the best way to safeguard her assets against Wall Street crashes. The customer was told that she could fill out an application for an account. She didn't realize that doing so would create an account automatically.
She was extremely alarmed by this because of the amount of personal information involved. When she explained to the salesperson that she didn't actually want an account, he insulted her and told her that she had led him on.
The company did respond to this complaint. They said that the customer had spoken with them about the salesperson's conduct. Based on the call they'd had with the customer, they believed that all of the issues were addressed. The customer wouldn't be contacted anymore.
Pros & Cons of Safeguard Metals
There's really nothing good that can be said about Safeguard Metals. They looked like a good company in the past, but only on the surface. If the SEC complaint is proven true, then they've been engaging in fraudulent activity for years.
Even if the SEC complaint isn't proven true, the company has an F rating with the BBB. They don't respond to major complaints and allegations leveraged against them. You're unlikely to get your money back if you lose it. And past customers have said that there are majorly dishonest sales tactics at work.
There are so many companies that don't use dishonest sales tactics or high pressure. There are so many companies that have positive customer feedback. There are so many companies that make an effort to fix any negative experiences. And perhaps most importantly, there are so many companies that haven't been charged with millions of dollars in fraud.
Work with one of these companies instead.
We believe that there are better companies out there to make your investment with.
Or, continue with Safeguard Metals...