As the busiest shopping season of the year approaches, businesses in central Columbia are reporting an increase in counterfeit money.
Store employees on Business Loop 70 told ABC 17 News they usually see about one or two counterfeit bills a month. But one local store that asked not to be identified saw four fake $20 bills in one day last week.
And it's not just the big bills that are being duplicated.
The Break Time gas station on Providence Road said they received four fake five dollar bills in one day last week.
The store employees said they check the money they receive to make sure it's not fake by using a money marker or black light.
But how can a person avoid accepting fake money?
First, experts recommend to feel the bill. Real money is made of cotton and linen and has tiny ridges in it. Fake money is often printed on paper and feels smoother.
Next, hold the bill up to the light and check for the watermark. It should appear in the light.
Also, closely examine the details. The real $10s, $20s, $50s, and $100s have color-shifting numbers in the right-hand corner that change color when moved. The portrait, border and serial numbers are also much more vivid and even on real bills.
Columbia police are investigating the counterfeit cash received at those stores.