The office estimates that thousands of dollars worth of counterfeit bills are now in circulation and says you could have one in your wallet right now. Leon County detectives say there's even more out in Tallahassee in circulation.
DET Chris Coxwell with the Leon County Sheriff's Office says, "It's hard to put an exact amount on it, but by what I've got here, it looks like a couple thousand here."
Detectives say in the last few months the whole state of Florida has seen an increase in the fake money being used at every day places of business.
Sam Gaber, owner of Aloha Tans, says, "I'm always worried about someone coming in with large bills like 50s or 100s. I wasn't worried about 20s and 10s until the pet store got some counterfeit money."
Summer Lawson of Carol's Critters pet store says, "We don't know when it came in, I took a deposit to the bank and the teller told me that it would be short. I asked why and he told me there were two counterfeit $20 bills and showed me with the marker."
You may think as a non-business owner this crime can't effect you, but it can.
Chris Coxwell says, "It floods the retail stores with fake money. You may have the mother out there working 40 hours a week to support her child. She gets a counterfeit bill, now she's out money. It takes a toll on the whole community."
But you can protect yourself.
Chris Coxwell adds, "Look for the watermark on the 20s, 50s and 100s. There's a security thread."
Deputies also say that the counterfeits will feel different because real money is printed on fabric, not paper. Deputies say there's a way to turn the funny money into the real thing.
If you suspect you've received fake money and know where it originated, call Crime Stoppers at 891-HELP. If your information leads to an arrest and conviction you could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
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