HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - They look like $100 bills, but are actually only $5 bills. And investigators in Hancock County say they're turning up at local businesses.
"What they are doing is using a bleaching method where they take the original ink off using a $5 bill and are actually printing a $100 on top of it," Waveland Investigator Eddie Peterson said.
Right now, authorities in Waveland and Bay St. Louis are looking for 30-year-old Alicia Jenkins. Investigators believe she's used several of the counterfeit bills at area businesses.
"There's different ones turning up every day, and what they do sometimes is they sell them to other individuals. Instead of taking them, they will sell them and get good money for bad money," Peterson said.
Employees at Schaeffer's in Lakeshore must now check every bill they ring in after the store recently received two counterfeit bills.
Owner Simon Hasan said, "I noticed the first one at night when I counted the money, and I posted it to the employees to keep an eye out. And when they came back the next day, same number, same everything, they actually caught it. We were able to hold the customer until the cops got here."
Since the latest fake money is being printed on a real bill, counterfeit detector pins will not help. But there are some other easy and quick ways to make sure the money you are getting is real.
"What you have is a $5 watermark in the corner of the bill," Peterson explained. "This is actually embedded in the paper. It's hard to duplicate and it shows it's legit, but it's a $5 bill versus a $100."
If it is an older $5 bill, it will have Abraham Lincoln's face on the right side. Also pay attention to the $100 mark on the bottom of the bill.
"On a legit bill, it's kind of raised, as well as you can tilt the bill and it will change colors," Peterson said.