Some 60 percent of pawn shops - which have mushroomed across the country as Greece experiences a sixth straight year of recession - have been found to be in violation of various laws, according to inspections conducted by the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) since the start of the year, the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency reported on Tuesday.
According to data submitted to Parliament by Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis, on October 11 there were 939 pawn shops operating in Greece and 309 local branches.
In the 141 inspections SDOE conducted from the start of the year to the end of September on these establishments, 59 percent were found to be in violation of regulations.
A Development Ministry official, meanwhile, has said that inspections will also be launched in tandem with SDOE's checks to ascertain whether pawn shops are using legitimate scales to weigh gold and other precious metals offered by customers for sale.
Thanasis Skodras warned that citizens embarking on transactions with pawn shops and gold buyers should be informed of their rights beforehand and research the reputation of the establishment they plan to approach.
The General Secretary for Consumers has also set up a hotline on tel 1520 where citizen can report complaints.