Holiday increase of counterfeiting already seen - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Holiday increase of counterfeiting already seen

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Albany Agent Billy Joe Powers looks for a give away on a fake $50 Albany Agent Billy Joe Powers looks for a give away on a fake $50
Which $50 is fake?  The one on the right Which $50 is fake? The one on the right
Billy Joe Powers says take a close look at your money Billy Joe Powers says take a close look at your money
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The U-S Secret Service warns South Georgians to beware of counterfeiters.

The holiday shopping season usually brings out an increase in phony money being passed.

And counterfeit bills are already being spotted in Albany stores. Crooks take advantage of the holiday spirit this time of year to rip stores and you off with counterfeit bills. Those crowded stores are already being targeted.

Police surveillance video shows the man and woman buying that purse at Belk Sunday afternoon. Police say they are counterfeiters pulling a rip off. They bought that purse with $350 dollars in counterfeit bills, and an hour later returned it, receiving real cash in return. Secret Service Agents say they're already seeing the holiday increase in phony money.

U.S. Secret Service Albany Office Resident Agent in Charge Billy Joe Powers said "It has to do with the busyness of the store. The extra commerce that is taking place. And the clerks are busy at that time."

The East Oakridge Winn Dixie reported a woman passing two counterfeit ten dollar bills Tuesday evening. Secret Service Agents say Black Friday is a time that stores have to be on special watch for counterfeiters,.....and so do you, because that phony bill could be returned to you before it's spotted. To protect yourself, the Secret Service recommends you know your money.

 Powers said "there are security features that are built into the money. It makes it to where just the average person can tell good from counterfeit."

More bleached out bills are being seen. A real five dollar has the ink bleached off, and then printed to look like a 50. You can check the watermark quickly by holding the bill up to the light and look at the right side.

 Powers said "You need to make sure that whoever is pictured on the face of the note, like this one the 50 with President Grant. That his likeness would also be in the watermark."

Police say professional crooks like this are already at work, and the Secret Service warns shoppers to look closely at your money before you walk away from the store register. They say if you suspect you have a counterfeit bill, to go ahead and report it to the store and to the authorities.

The Secret Service also warns to monitor you credit and debit card transactions to make sure they are not compromised...especially this time of year. And never give any personal information over the phone or the Internet.

information from The U. S. Secret Service

The Secret Service says that Southwest Georgia area shoppers and businesses need to remain vigilant, as the holiday rush means more crowds and increased opportunities for criminals to commit fraud.

This time of year, counterfeiters prey on both cashiers distracted by long lines, and consumers juggling purchases and shopping lists. Shoppers should visually inspect their currency before walking away from store registers or bank tellers, say special agents of the U.S. Secret Service's Albany Resident Office.

Retailers and consumers also need to be mindful of criminals attempting to steal or use stolen credit cards, credit card numbers or store gift cards. Retailers should continue to actively compare credit card signatures with photo IDs, and consumers should carefully scrutinize card transactions and card statements to ensure their cards are not compromised.

 "Technology has forever changed the way we do business, making everyday financial transactions a prime target for fraud," said Albany Resident Office Resident Agent in Charge Billy Joe Powers. "The Secret Service, in conjunction with its many law enforcement partners continues to successfully combat these crimes by adapting our investigative methodologies, and educating the public."

The U.S. Secret Service was originally founded in 1865 for the purpose of suppressing the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. Over the years it has grown into one of the premier law enforcement organizations charged with investigating financial crimes. The agency has taken a lead role in the emerging arena of cyber crime, establishing partnerships with both the public and private sectors to address such issues as protection of critical infrastructure, Internet intrusions and associated fraud.

To help avoid becoming a victim of identity fraud, the best advice is to never provide personal information over the phone or the Internet to anyone that contacts you via phishing scams. No credit card company or bank will ever contact you to verify your information.

If a retailer or consumer suspects a bill is counterfeit, they should compare the bill to a note of the same series and denomination that is known to be genuine. The note in question should display the proper watermark as well as the proper security thread that is consistent with that denomination.

The following resources contain valuable information on how to detect counterfeit notes by identifying the security features that are embedded within U.S. currency: Know Your Money, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing's website.

If you suspect you may have a counterfeit bill or you may be a possible victim of financial fraud, contact local police and/or the U.S. Secret Service's Albany Resident Office at 229-430-8442.

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