SAVANNAH, GA (March 1, 2011): Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police are battling an increase in counterfeit bills and warning businesses to heighten their cautions in accepting cash.

Sgt. Keith Edwards of the SCMPD Financial Crimes Division said counterfeit bills have increased nationwide and businesses in this area are plagued with bogus $5, $10 and $20 bills. Cashiers can help themselves by learning the feel of legal tender printed on cotton and linen to provide a unique feel. Counterfeit bills are printed on plain paper.

He also recommends all businesses invest in marking pens that differentiate between legal bills and counterfeit.

“Businesses tell us they are expensive,” he said, “but we think they are an investment toward protecting their businesses. Most cashiers are very cautious with $20 bills, but are not marking $5 and $10 bills.” One business recently had $240 in bogus bills from one customer employees could not identify.

“It’s a good idea to check $10 bills consistently and $5 bills from time to time, because these bills can mount up into significant numbers,” he said. “Bars and restaurants find themselves slammed with customers and can be rushed into accepting fraudulent bills.”

If businesses suspect they are being given counterfeit bills, they should call the non-emergency number at 652-6500 and ask the customer to stand by until police arrive.

“The customer may not know the money is counterfeit and they can help us narrow down where it came from,” Edwards said. At no time should the bogus money be returned to the customer.

The counterfeit bills have been used heavily in the Skidaway Road and MLK Jr. Boulevard corridors, but have shown up in businesses from Wilmington Island to Georgetown.

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