LAUREL, Miss. - The Laurel Police department deals with counterfeit crimes, but within the last three weeks they've experienced an increase in counterfeit transactions with local businesses.
Sergeant (Sgt.) Michael Reaves said, "We had several businesses over the last couple of months that have encountered 5's, 10's and 100's (counterfeit money), we have made several arrests in those cases with those individuals several months ago that we thought were passing them."
The department is asking the public to double check their money when handling cash.
Sgt. Reaves said, "Now you've got a counterfeit bill and you may unknowingly pass that bill."
To the trained eye the counterfeit bills can be pointed out, but Sgt. Reaves said counterfeiters prey during peak time business hours.
"Most of the time when you catch business owners at their busiest time and they have a lot of customers and people at their registers they do not have the time to stop and examine that currency because they are trying to help their customers" added Sgt. Reaves.
He said that it is small businesses that are at more at risk since corporate businesses will likely have machines or tools to verify counterfeit money.
"Consumers as well as business owners look for the security features on your money, most of the money does not feel right to the touch" Sgt. Reaves said.
Sgt. Reaves said if you do not know the difference, the government offers a 'Currency Education' program to teach the public the difference between real and counterfeit money.