Edmonton police issued a warning Monday over reports that counterfeit gold bars were being sold throughout the city.

Police said late in 2016, officers received a tip over the sale of counterfeit gold bars to a number of merchants in Edmonton. Investigators soon determined the gold bars were fakes.

“We tested the product for authenticity and quickly determined these gold bars were nothing more than copper bars plated in gold,” Const. Robert Wellon with the Criminal Investigation Section in Northwest Division said in a statement.

The counterfeit gold bars are being sold in a number of weight denominations and range of prices – they weigh from 10 and 31 grams per piece, and suspects are selling them for anywhere between $300 and $800.

The fake pieces are only worth about a dollar, police said, they are actually gold-plated copper pieces.

EPS investigators said a total of 220 grams (with a market value of $10,000) has been recovered through the investigation, and there have been about 20 transactions involving the fake gold in Edmonton recently.

“Store merchants are usually the primary target of this type of crime, but we are now starting to see this product being sold online through buy and sell websites, such as Kijiji,” Wellon said.

Wellon told CTV News the scam has been making the rounds across Canada, most recently in Winnipeg before Christmas.

Police are warning local merchants and citizens to be careful should they be approached by someone selling gold bars, which appear professional packaged and authentic – merchants and potential buyers are encouraged to ask questions, and request a purchase receipt from the seller.

Anyone with information about the gold bars is asked to call the Edmonton Police Service non-emergency line at 780-423-4567 or #377 on a mobile phone.

Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

With files from David Ewasuk