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Tips Offered On How To Spot Counterfeit Cash

Reported by: Send eMail Katelyn Sykes
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Dec. 23, 2013 10:41 AM EST
Updated: Dec. 23, 2013 1:23 PM EST

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Counterfeit Cash
Eyewitness News Photo

Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

As the holiday shopping season is in full swing, so are scammers trying to take advantage of you.

Most recently, 40 million credit and debit card users potentially had their information compromised after Target was hacked. Now fake money is making the rounds in the area. Kanawha County sheriff's deputies said several counterfeit bills have been passed this holiday season ranging anywhere from $10 to $100 bills. The 7-Eleven outside of St. Albans fell victim to this just last week.

The U.S. Secret Service is offering some tips this holiday season on what you need to look out for so your cash isn't compromised.

William Smarr, resident agent in charge with the Secret Service, said a trillion dollars is currently in circulation but only about one in every 10,000 bills is counterfeit. It's a small amount but still a big problem.

"They've only got to fool one person to pass that note and to make a profit," Smarr said. "They're basically preying on the large volume of shopping, busy lines during the holiday season, merchants that are just looking to get through the day."

Smarr said while they are keeping a close eye on these trends, it's also important for consumers and retailers to know what to look out for so they don't end up losing money. First and foremost, know the different security features such as water marks and threads. Also, it is important to compare bills.

"When you're looking up at it, there's no security thread and water mark," Smarr said. "And if you look at a genuine, you can definitely see the security thread and the water mark."

Another thing to keep in mind is how the bills feel. Genuine money has some raised printing that you can feel with your fingernails. If it's smooth, it's probably fake. Also, keep an eye on the color of the note.

"You can see the color shift in ink," he said. "It's going to shift depending on the angle you're looking at it, like a green or gold, as opposed to counterfeit, the ink isn't going to shift."

Most importantly for retailers, take time with every transaction and inspect every bill. That way you are not the one left taken advantage of and out of money.

The Secret Service said in the United States, the $20 bill is the most commonly reproduced. Overseas, it's the $100 bill.

The organization has a great resource for identifying fake cash. Check out this link or this link.



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