WAYNE COUNTY, Miss. - Wayne county officials said there has been a rise in counterfeit money circulating the Pine Belt counties.
First State Bank President in Waynesboro Byrom Jordan said its that time of year where people are shopping and they should be extra cautious of the money inside their wallets.
“It’s a busy time of the year, you have more shoppers out, at the stores, the cashiers are being overwhelmed, with people in their line, they are trying, to move you through as quick as they can" said Jordan.
He continued, "And it’s easy to drop your guard and accept a bill that otherwise you may have catch at a time where you could have been paying more attention to it.”
Wayne county Sheriff Jody Ashley said the felony crime of passing out counterfeits is hurting merchants and the economy.
“A guy that had a $100 dollar bill, went out to get some gas, $10 dollars worth of gas, and walked away with $90 dollars, and these are hurting the merchants, where these people are distributing these bills of counterfeits of 5’s, 20’s, 100’s.”
The U.S. Department of Treasury added more security features on its bills said Jordan, but it is not stopping counterfeiters at all.
Jordan said, “They can copy color, they can copy the fine line of the script, signature and things of that nature."
Counterfeiters are beginning to use real $1 and $5 dollar bills. They will bleach the paper, and reprint it with higher fake bills. When merchants use its markers to identify the authenticity it will appear real.
"If the paper is authentic, it will remain yellow, if its not an authentic bill then it will turn a darker color" Jordan said.
He added, "Those markers are going to show that it is an authentic bill." He said residents should look out for the small details.
"Look at the different security features in a bill, one of the things that we have seen is, there is a water mark, if you look at a $100 dollar bill for example, you have Ben Franklin’s face on the face of the bill."
"If you hold up that bill to a light, just to the right of his face, you will see a water mark, that also appears to be the face of Ben Franklin. One of the counterfeits that you look at, will also you may see a face there, but if you flip it over and look at it from the back, you will still see that face, that is not a water mark" said Jordan.
He added, "That is where it has been penciled or etched into the paper, that is probably one of the first places to see and check the authenticity of the bill.”
To learn more about counterfeit money you can click here.