Funny Money Making The Rounds

Merchants in South Mississippi need to be on the look out for funny money. Fake 20's and hundreds have been passed at motels, stores and restaurants in Slidell over the past few weeks. And law enforcers say it probably won't be long before they turn up in South Mississippi.

The fake bills that have fooled several businesses in and around the Slidell area has St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's officials very concerned.

Detective Jayme Seymour, told WLOX NEWS, "We're sending out a warning to area merchants and consumers to be on the look out for these counterfeit bills. If someone is actually able to pass the money in exchange for merchandise the money 's no good so they eat the loss for the merchandise."

Hancock County Sheriff Steve Garber is also concerned about the counterfeit bills.

"We're really worried about that counterfeit money coming across the state line over to Hancock County."

Sheriff Garber says his department has worked a few counterfeit cases over the past few months... But those fake bills looked amateur compared to the 20's and hundreds that have surfaced in Slidell since mid October. Garber says merchants need to look carefully.

"When you take your money look at the front and back of the money see if its evenly matched up if its off set or if the texture of the paper don't feel right, we don't want to see people here loose their money."

Authorities say a small investment into a 3 dollar counterfeit detection pen could prevent merchants from loosing hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

"All you have to do is take the pen run it across the bill if it stays yellow or clear then the money's good if it turns black or brown then you should consider it counterfeit and contact local law," said Seymour.

Special security features of the newer bills are visible when the bills are held up to the light. Close inspection takes a little more time, but law enforcers say it's well worth it.

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Department does have some leads in the case, but so far no arrests. Those convicted of counterfeiting, face up to ten years in jail and as much as $5,000 in fines.