GAINESVILLE, Ga. - Police want businesses and customers to be aware of a rash of counterfeit bills popping up in the area.
The Gainesville Police Department issued a warning to the public Thursday to be on the lookout for fake bills.
"It started back at least a month or two ago. We began to see a little bit of an increase in counterfeit bills being presented throughout the city," explained Gainesville Police Sgt. Kevin Holbrook. "Over the past couple of weeks, we've seen an increase even over that. Just about every couple of days at least we're seeing a report come through that involved counterfeit bills."
Sgt. Holbrook said most of the phony money that has been reported has been $50 or $100 bills.
"The ones that are intentionally passing these bills will go into a local convenience store, go into a business, buy a small item--something within a few dollars--in order to receive change back and then they then take that change and they leave and unfortunately, the business is out whatever that monetary amount may be," he added.
Investigators said often, crooks try to use the bills at businesses where the cashier may be extremely busy and not have the time to double check the currency. There are, however, some quick things people can do to protect themselves from falling victim.
- Feel the money to see if it has the right texture and weight
- Examine the bill for any unusual marks or irregularities, such as crooked lines or cuts
- Hold the cash up to a light to check for standard watermarks
- Use a counterfeit detecting pen. Lines drawn on real bills will appear yellow or light-colored; those drawn on fake bills will appear dark or brown
- Use a specially-designed UV light to examine the currency
The Secret Service provides even more tips for spotting fake money on their website.