Avoid Business Over the Phone, Deal Locally. Campany said that one easy way to make sure you can deal with any potential disputes is to keep the business local and preferably, face-to-face. "You can go down to him and look him in the eye. You can call your local authorities if you're having a problem," he said. "If it's somebody in a different state, you are going to have a hard time tracking him down and tracking down your money."
Get a Deposit Slip. Since often consumers will not actually be holding the gold they buy, Campany urges consumers to ask the brokers to produce a deposit slip to show that they have purchased the metal, on their behalf, from a reputable depository. A company that can't produce a deposit slip is likely a fraud and other official-looking statements can be easy for con-artists to produce.
Read More Official Tips. As a bonus tip courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission, the FTC urges anyone looking into buying gold to check out their website for their warnings about dealing in gold and precious metals. As the website says, "All Gold is Not Created Equal".
"The public needs to understand that investments carry risks, precious metals carry all sorts of risks that I'm not sure most members of the public are aware of," Vladeck said.