SHOP aaround if you want to raise quick cash by selling your gold.
The stark warning comes from local trading standards officers as scams are reported throughout the area.
Gold prices have reached an all-time high and a recent survey revealed that prices paid varied enormously.
Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils Joint Trading Standards Service said two nine carat items and an 18 carat ring were offered for sale to 13 local traders.
The prices offered varied from £60 to £142.
A spokesman said: “By shopping around it would be possible to receive almost two and a half times as much for scrap gold.”
Stirling Council covers an area including Drymen, Killearn, Fintry and Strathblane, though the warning extends across East Dunbartonshire.
Brian Wilson, a trading standards officer, said: “There is a wide disparity in how much shops or dealers will pay for gold.
“There isn’t much trading standards can do if people are getting a bad deal provided the trader is not misleading the seller about the worth of the gold.”
Officers noted that no false claims were made by any of the traders surveyed and the price offered was correct.
However, when the weighing equipment was checked seven traders were found to be using unstamped and not fit for use for machines in breach of the Weights and Measures Act.
And council officers found that eight of the traders visited were unlicensed.