Counterfeit money circulating across county

Counterfeit money is cashing in across Barnwell County, according to Barnwell Police Chief Todd Gantt.
Gantt said he's received around 30 complaints of people using fake money in the past few weeks.
The majority of the complaints are with $10 and $20 bills, but Gantt added that $100 bills are being used occasionally.
He said people using fake bills will wait until a local convenience or grocery store is busy before they go in. The idea is to catch the cashiers while they're in a hurry and not paying much attention.
Gantt said there have been no arrests, and that he couldn't give specifics about the investigation.
He said the counterfeit money the police have received is of low quality.
The fake bills don't have the typical feel of real money; instead it feels like "typical paper," Gantt said.
"I haven't seen a quality counterfeit in years," he said.
When someone realizes they've received counterfeit money, they need to immediately report it to the police, who in turn have to notify the Secret Service, Gantt said.
Gantt urged residents, especially those who handle money as part of their job, to pay close attention to all cash denominations they receive. If they need help, he can come to their business and teach them the basics of identifying fake money.
If a cashier thinks they've been handed counterfeit money, Gantt said, they shouldn't be confrontational with the person who used it.
"People need to be vigilante and check the bills," he said, "But the main thing is don't put their self in danger."
If a cashier realizes the money is fake, they should simply tell the customer there is something wrong with the money and it needs to be checked by a manager or a supervisor.
Gantt said if the customer gets upset and demands the money back it usually means they know it's fake.
Normally there is a person or group who makes the counterfeit money and then sells it to people who will use it to make illegal purchases, Gantt said.
It's common for the criminal to pay for $100 worth of products with five $20 bills, but two or three of the bills are fake, he added.
Some people may use counterfeit money without even knowing it. They are just victims caught in a scam, Gantt said.
The police "have to prove intent" when someone is caught using fake money, Gantt said.
If you get home from the store and realize your change is counterfeit, you should call the police first, Gantt said.
There are several ways to tell if a bill is counterfeit. For instance, all denominations except the $1 bill have a security strip that's visible when you hold the bill up to the light. But the security strip on a counterfeit bill will show up simply by laying the bill flat on a surface, Gantt said.
Also, all $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills printed after 1996 will have a watermark of the person whose portrait is on the bill. The watermark is also on all $5 bills printed since 1999.
"It's a common sense thing," Gantt said about identifying fake money.
To learn more about counterfeit money, visit www.secretservice.gov/know_your_money.shtml.