Secret Service: Counterfeit cash circulation spikes during the h - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Secret Service: Counterfeit cash circulation spikes during the holidays

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United States Secret Service agents say about $15,000 in phony cash passes through the Midlands each month,but in the months of November and December that number jumps to nearly $50,000 a month.

"Historically the consumers are very busy,they're shopping and they're not as vigilant as they should be which gives the would-be counterfeiter the opportunity to pass their counterfeit currency,"said Special-Agent-in-Charge Michael Williams with the U.S. Secret Service in Columbia.

Agent Williams says it's important to slowdown and know your money.

"If you receive a bill that you suspect is counterfeit, take a bill that you know is genuine and compare the two ," said Williams. "Make sure they have the same security features. You're looking for differences, not similarities."

Williams says there are four main things to look for.

  1. The portrait - The portrait on genuine currency is three dimensional and looks life-like, whereas the portrait on counterfeit money is often dull and
  2. flat .Security
  3. thread - Agents say since the, money has been made with a security thread. Typically the thread is not found counterfeit currency. However, some counterfeiters have figured out ways to forge threads, so look closely. A real bill will clearly say USA and the correct dollar amount will be spelled out. Make sure that you thread is legible and that the dollar amount on the thread matches the face value of the
  4. bill .Watermark
  5. - It is usually on the bottom right corner of the front side of the bill and it will look like smaller version of the center portrait. Agents say most fake money won't have watermark, however some counterfeiters have tried. Agent Williams says sometimes an outline of the watermark will show up if the bill is scanned and copied, but on a real bill the watermark will look life-like like the center portrait. Also, some counterfeiters will bleach real money to make higher denominations of fake money so make sure the watermark matches the president featured on the center portrait.
  6. Blue and red synthetic fibers - Agents say real money has fine blue and red synthetic fibers imbedded in the bill. Agent Williams says on a real bill you can actually pick those fibers out with a small pen. 

Agents say it is important to check your money inside the place of business that you receive it, because if you discover that the money is counterfeit after you leave most likely the merchant will not reimburse you.

If you

believe you have received counterfeit money, notify local police and or your local field branch of the U.S. Secret Service (Columbia Office- (803)772-4015). If possible, provide officials with the description of the person you received the counterfeit money from.

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