The Numismatic Consumer Alliance Inc. helped recover nearly $1 million during 2013 for consumers who were victims of unscrupulous coin sales, according to John Albanese, founder and president of the not-for-profit watchdog organization.
NCA has now recovered more than $8 million since it began in 2005 — an average of about $1 million annually — for unwitting and often unknowledgeable buyers who were induced to purchase grossly overpriced coins, Albanese said.
NCA was founded in 2005 by 10 professional numismatists with more than 20 years experience who each provided seed money of $10,000 apiece.
Disputes involving potential abuses are referred to NCA by a number of sources, including hobby organizations, numismatic periodicals, law enforcement agencies, reputable coin dealers and consumers, and victims’ families and friends.
The New Jersey-based group acts on behalf of such buyers, obtaining legal and other professional assistance when needed, in an attempt to rectify abuses in coin-related transactions and discourage perpetrators from continuing these practices.
Albanese said the 10 cases settled in 2013 involved amounts ranging from a low of $3,500 to a high of $330,000.
In most of these cases, including the largest, he said, the victims were elderly people targeted in telephone scams.
Albanese said that, often, “the victims’ sons and daughters are the ones who contact us. And by the time they realize what’s been happening, the wild overpayments can total many thousands of dollars.”