Disclaimer: Some or all of the companies listed on this page my provide compensation to us. This is how we maintain our free service for consumers that visit us. Compensation & hard research determine where and how companies appear below.
Once upon a time, Safeguard Metals was a popular and well-reviewed company that sold precious metals online. While this company still exists, it operates as a shadow of its former self. In fact, some people might say that the company is in disgrace. It has been the subject of multiple government actions regarding alleged fraud worth millions upon millions of dollars.
On top of this, there are 12 individual complaints on the company's BBB page. The company never responded to three of them, and one of the complaints wasn't resolved to the customer's satisfaction. The BBB gives the company an F rating and has fully revoked their accreditation, both because of these complaints and because of the government actions.
Obviously, with all of this taken into consideration, we don't recommend that you shop with this business. But what exactly happened?
STOP! Before we continue with this review, we want you to know how seriously we take your investment. We know our research and information may sway your investment decision, so we want to make extra sure you are investing with the right company!
With this said, we do have a list of our top 5 companies (we have found that at least 1 of these 5 companies fits what 99% of our visitors are looking for and all have great reputations & customer reviews):
See if Safeguard Metals made our list this year, or continue with this review below to see if they are possibly the right company for your investment needs.
Is Safeguard Metals a Scam?
The question of whether Safeguard Metals is a scam is a complex one. The company definitely seems to have sent some customers the correct products, and they have many positive reviews. But they have also been accused of scamming customers and engaging in fraudulent activity. In fact, there are 27 states that have joined with the federal government to take civil action against this company.
Whether or not you consider the company a scam, they've certainly ended up in legal hot water.
CFTC Civil Charges
The CFTC and the aforementioned 27 states filed the civil action against the company in February of 2022, not long ago at all. The action was also filed specifically against the owner of the company, who goes by both the names Jeffrey Hill and Jeffrey Santulan. They state that the company engaged in fraud that was worth $68 million.
The company's main clientele is made up of older retirees who want to protect their retirement holdings. These people are concerned about how the global economy might impact their income, causing them to lose their livelihood. In addition, the company focused on clients who were almost retirement age but had almost no experience with finance or investment.
As part of their marketing campaign, the company made statements about how risky traditional IRAs were. These statements were misleading and caused the customers to believe that their accounts could lose all of their value overnight. The investors felt like they needed to buy a self-directed IRA and put all of their money into precious metals in order to protect themselves.
The petition that the CFTC filed demands that the company undergo a proper jury trial for civil damages.
SEC Criminal Charges
Then the SEC filed an action against the company as well, formally charging the owner of Safeguard Metals with fraud.
The SEC's case is similar to the CFTC's. The agency says that the company used high pressure tactics to confuse, bully, and coerce elderly investors into buying precious metals. The salespeople made an urgent case that the customer's retirement savings were at risk, and that they needed to buy precious metals as protection. They also used a fearmongering and incorrect definition of a law to convince people that the government could seize and freeze their IRA at any moment.
To add insult to injury, once the customers did decide to put their entire retirement into precious metals, the company would charge huge markups. The customers were paying far more for these coins than they were actually worth. There was no way to sell the items back for the original value of their account.
The SEC had additional data to back up its claims. The marketing copy for the company stated that their highest markups were 23%, often less. But the SEC found many products that were marked up between 64% and 100%. Safeguard Metals was able to generate $68 million in gross revenue through these marketing tactics, of which $25 million was pure profit.
In addition, the company's website said that they had $11 billion in assets on hand in their inventory. That was a lie. They said that they had an operating office in London, which was also a lie.
On top of that, the SEC says that most salespeople did not have the experience necessary for the job. Safeguard Metals claimed that their salespeople were highly experienced and came from long careers in the investment and precious metals industries. That wasn't true. In fact, the majority of staff members didn't have any experience at all. The company owner even went as far as to create an illusion on Linkedin that certain high powered executives worked for Safeguard Metals when they never did.
So What's the Summary?
Here are quick bullet points of everything that the company and its owner are accused of:
The company is now facing both civil and criminal charges on a federal level. Yikes! Things don't look good for anyone once both the CFTC and SEC are involved. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but the government doesn't usually move with these kinds of actions unless they believe they have a solid case.
Pros & Cons of Safeguard Metals
The scope of the case against Safeguard Metals is actually mindboggling. It's amazing how many states are involved in the prosecution. Even if they weren't, having federal investigations and charges filed by both the SEC and CFTC is a major deal. The federal government doesn't bother to demand a jury trial and create this big a fuss unless they have a very solid case.
If the civil fraud case goes to trial, then the jury will decide if the plaintiffs are entitled to damages. Then they'll decide how much those damages should be. Many people were allegedly defrauded of their entire life savings, sometimes ending up with barely half of what they started with.
The civil and criminal charges have also both been leveled specifically against the company's owner. He is considered the main entity responsible for the alleged tactics and marketing tools that took place.
Even if there wasn't this kind of government action brewing, we wouldn't recommend working with the company based on their BBB record. It's hugely concerning that they haven't responded to multiple complaints, especially when those complaints allege that the company defrauded elderly clients. The reviews and complaints alike make it clear that the salespeople are very invested in upselling products and earning commissions.
It will be interesting to see what happens with all of this, legally speaking. In the meantime, if you want to invest in precious metals, we recommend working with one of our more reputable precious metals IRA firms instead.