Can you detect the counterfeit bill?
BATON ROUGE - Agent Luis Velez with the Secret Service handles counterfeit money everyday. In fact, he says the use of these faux bills is on the rise.
"It's prevalent enough that we're having to get on the media. Before it was a small up tick, now we're starting to see it in our usual counterfeit activity," said Velez.
Some of it is easy to spot, others not so much. Recently the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office was looking for a woman who unknowingly used so-called "movie money" to buy groceries. These bills look just like the real thing, but have "FOR CINEMATIC USE ONLY" printed on them--A tactic Velez says counterfeit money printers use to pass the paper off as a novelty item.
"You could put anything on here, it doesn't matter. 'Have a good day, it's November'..It's what any reasonable person would suspect as counterfeit."
If you are unaware that you're carrying counterfeit money, you probably won't get in trouble with the law, but you can still do damage if you use it. Agent Velez says it's the brick-and-mortar businesses that lose the most.
"Let's say you're buying something for $10 and you give me $100. I give you $90 back in change of legitimate money. That brick-and-mortar business is now out of $100,"
So how can you detect counterfeit bills? If the bills don't have obvious wording on them like movie money, Velez says its a little harder to tell.
"You're going to make sure the security strip is legitimate. You're going to make sure the watermark matches the portrait, and it usually doesn't, and the feel and the texture of the money," He says it's usually easier to detect once you hold it in your hands.
Agent Velez predicts with the upcoming holiday shopping season, the use of counterfeit money is only going to get worse.