Counterfeit Money Season Begins

Three people have been arrested in Tallahassee in the past three weeks for trying to buy things with bogus bills, and police warn that as the holidays approach, counterfeit cash will become even more common.

Tallahassee police are visiting dozens of restaurants and retailers, giving them a quick course on how to spot counterfeit money.

Diz Shaw from Hopkins Eatery says, "Money is money, you know, if you're getting the counterfeit bill that's not real money, it's hurting your business and it's really hurting everyone else."

These bills illustrate a new era in counterfeit. Professionals account for fewer and fewer of the bogus bills in circulation and opportunists with home computers account for more and more, about 50 percent now.

Robert Munson with the U.S. Secret Service, resident agent in charge, says, "With the advance of technology these days, people are purchasing ink jet printers or desktop copiers, and they can produce them in their school or in their house even."

The counterfeit season has already begun in Tallahassee with three arrests so far, and
Tallahassee police say with the hustle and bustle of the holidays ahead it'll only get worse.

SGT Bill Bierbaum of the Tallahassee Police Department says, "It's not a lot, but we see a spike in the holidays normally, and that's why we want to put that out now so merchants can be aware."

The most common counterfeit is the $20 bill because it's not big enough to attract any undue attention. In our area, odds are that you can expect to come face to face with phony money this year.