A sucker is born every minute. I was born a sucker a little more than a week ago when I decided to do business with GovernmentAuction.com, an online auction house.
Being new to online auctions, I was drawn to the apparent great value this outfit offered for jewelry, collector coins, semi-precious stones, etc. in its "Government High Value Asset" auction. Every item listed impressive estimated values and these were frequently supplemented by official-appearing documentation by Gemological Laboratory of America (GLA), Inc. suggestive of an authentic appraisal. Admittedly, I went a little crazy during the auction and ultimately spent thousands and thousands of dollars on winning bids. I rationalized that I had obtained great value as everything I won was well below its estimated value. That was until the merchandise began arriving.
Junk, cheap junk, cheaper junk. I became flushed as it was immediately clear that I had been scammed. It would have been one thing if I had overpaid for items of value but it was apparent that virtually all items had been exaggerated with respect to their value by 10-100x. Particularly egregious are the items with GLA documentation. Close examination revealed that these are no more than for insurance purposes and the so-called gemologists are not certified by any recognized organization such as GIA. Their estimates are ludicrous given the quality of items I received (e.g., a bracelet estimated by them to be ~$48K is no more than $100.) For this reason and many other examples, I believe GLA is a co-conspirator in this scam particularly since they request $18 to "register" each item on their website.