Businesses say string of counterfeit cash has employees on high alert

Published: Oct. 24, 2011 at 9:31 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2011 at 2:32 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF)- Local businesses say counterfeit cash is circulating around our area, so they are doing a double take on every dollar they get.

Denny's Restaurant owner Mel Estep says his employees are on high alert right now, keeping their eyes peeled for counterfeit cash. "You see grocery stores or anywhere marking the bills. If it turns brown, it is legit but if it turns black or a different color it is counterfeit about 99% of the time.", says Estep.

But even with the ink test or looking for the watermark, business owners say it is getting harder to catch people passing fake money. Estep adds, "They are passing it because they take $1 or $10 bills and they're printing over the edge and so it shows as a ten, twenty or hundred so they get around it by the paper is the same paper."

That is why businesses are finding ways to fight back. "There is a camera on the cash register so we can narrow it down to when we took it and show police that person.", explains Estep. But local companies say counterfeit money is hurting their bottom line.

Gay Dolphin Gift Shop owner Buz Plyler says, "We do not get it back, it is a loss, that is why we take every effort. We have to have a viable money supply and we understand it is not just our problem it is a social problem in the U.S."

And businesses say they call police when they find anything suspicious. Myrtle Beach Police Captain David Knipes says, "We investigate and work with federal authorities and if they notice a pattern or a string they could develop a suspect or a bigger operation they will go after that."

Myrtle Beach Police say they are investigating several incidents of counterfeit theft that happened recently.

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