Published: Jul 29, 2011 10:48 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 29, 2011 9:19 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla.- The value of gold is hitting record highs. But before you cash in your precious metals, the Better Business Bureau reminds you to do your homework to ensure you really do get a golden deal.

Whether buying or selling, precious metal dealers are seeing a spike in interest in the safe-haven of investments- gold.

"For every person selling gold to us, we've got at least two people in here asking questions about buying it as an investment," David Hill of Gulf Coast Gold & Jewelry said Friday.

But as the price of gold continues to rise during the debt crisis, so are the complaints against precious metal dealers. In 2010, the Better Business Bureau received 581 complaints on companies within the industry. So far this year, they've already fielded 408 complaints.

"With the price of gold increasing, there's no surprise that the level of activity is increased for companies dealing with gold. It's also no surprise that there are more unethical people that are trying to take advantage of consumers out there," John Zajac of the Better Business Bureau said Friday.

Before you sell your gold based on its weight, experts say it's best to get the piece appraised by a jeweler. It may be worth more as is, than melted down.

"If there's anything that's really elegant, that maybe used to be an antique piece or has a lot of stones, do that separately. Don't let it get put in with all the regular stuff," Hill said.

The Better Business Bureau also encourages keeping track of the price of gold, shopping around, and looking for a company with a good track record in the community.

"If you drove by a location two weeks ago and it was an empty gas station, and this week it's a "we buy gold" place, odds are it's going to be a low baller that's trying to make a quick buck and get out of town," Hill said.

On Friday, the price of gold rested at $1,626 an ounce, up more than 18% since the beginning of the year.