Scam Alert

Local Jewelers Warns More Fake Rolexes Are Being Sold

People are falling for knockoffs

NBC Universal, Inc.

Local jewelers told NBC 7 that they are seeing more and more unsuspecting people bringing in higher-quality counterfeits Rolex watches.

"There have been fake Rolexes out since they became popular in the late '60s and early '70s," said Leo Hamel, a jeweler for more than 40 years. "The quality has skyrocketed over the years."

Hamel said he has seen an increase in people buying the fake watches. One reason why: Fakes used to be easy to identify, but now they take a more trained eye to spot.

"It used to be somebody would bring a watch in and we could just look at it, sometimes with our eyes closed," Hamel said. "We could hold it and know that it was fake."

Hamel said most of the watches are sold with similar stories: Usually the "Rolex" seller is a man with his wife or kids in the car.

"The story is they can have a $40,000 Rolex for $500," Hamel said. "People fall for it. They buy it and it turns out to be fake."

Just because it seems high quality doesn't mean it is a real Rolex. Hamel said the fake watch, while not cheap to manufacture, will still cost a fraction of the price of a real Rolex, makes the fraud very lucrative.

"Every Rolex can be faked, every part can be faked," Hamel said. "They even sell solid-gold fake Rolex watches."

That's why, Hamel said, you should take any watch to an expert before you buy it. The same goes for any other jewelry, including gold chains or bracelets.

"There's a little bit of greed mixed in with trying to be altruistic," Hamel said. "When somebody sells a $20,000 or $30,000 watch for $500, you think you'd be a little suspicious."

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