Stores Extra Cautious as Counterfeiting on the Rise - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/05/04

Stores Extra Cautious as Counterfeiting on the Rise

Counterfeit cash is a growing problem that could affect you. When people pass fake bills at stores, they may eventually wind up in your pocket. We spoke with a woman today who was told her $20 bill was fake a short time after she got the money out of an ATM.

Latisha Brady says she was very embarrassed when a restaurant wouldn't take her money. But detectives at the Savannah-Chatham police department say businesses are just being careful these days.

It happens everywhere. You go to the store with a big bill and the cashier pulls out a special pen to make sure it's real. That's what happened to Brady, but during her routine breakfast stop she was told her bill was bogus. "She came to the window and said, 'Sorry, this is fake,'" Brady recalled. "I said, 'Fake? I just came from the bank how can this be fake?'"

After a trip back to the bank, Brady was told her $20 bill was actually real and all that humiliation was for nothing. "I was very embarrassed cause there was a line of people at the drive through waiting on me," Brady said.

Unfortunately, Ethal Beaver has seen several bogus bills at the convenience store she works in. "About a week apart," she said. "We got one one week, another another week."

Forgery detectives say counterfeit cash is a growing problem in Savannah. More and more stores are being extra careful, and in Brady's case maybe too careful. "Within the last two years we've seen an increase in counterfeit money," said Det. Robert Chandler. "Usually they use an inkjet printer to counterfeit the bills."

If people don't know what to look for, those counterfeit bills may end up in your pocket, or you might be at a restaurant or store embarrassed. "When you mark [a counterfeit bill], it will come out black," said Beaver. "If it's real, it will turn a light color."

Detectives say, if you suspect a counterfeit bill, call the Secret Service or your local police enforcement.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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