OKLAHOMA CITY - Coin dealers are seeing a rise in theft with people trying to sell fake coins in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa area.

Rod Powers, an Oklahoma City numismatist, is warning dealers and consumers who are in the market to buy or sell gold and silver to take extra precautions of the coins they buy.

"If it's too good, it probably is not real," he said.

However, even the best can fall victim to fake coins. He says one of his employees recently was fooled by a collection.

"It looked good but $1,270 worth of product that is worthless," Powers said.

While Powers believes these sellers didn't know they were fakes, he says many people do know what they're doing. In fact, dealers are keeping a watch out for Gabriel G. Owen, who is suspected of selling $10,000 in fake gold and silver coins in Tulsa and $6,000 in Oklahoma City during the week of April 8.

"They're great counterfeits, beautiful counterfeits," he said. "It would be hard to tell without spending a lot of time from what I've seen."

Powers said he fears it will only get worse with the prices of metals rising.

"We get crime reports every other day, somebody that's either been robbed or duped with coins that are not real," he said.

So, if some dealers are getting fooled, he said general consumer doesn't stand a chance.

"The flea markets, gun shows, the consumer is wide open for fraud," he said. "They don't know what to look for and if they spent the time, they probably wouldn't."

Powers says if they won't give you their ID when selling coins, don't buy it.

Ways to find reputable coin dealers:

1. Check their Better Business Bureau rating

2. See how long they have been in business

3. Use those dealers you have successfully used previously

Those who are buying gold and silver can always check coins against publications to verify if there were ever such coins minted.