WALLACE, N.C. (WNCT) — Officials in the Duplin County town of Wallace say they have seen an increase of counterfeit $100 bills recently. Authorities say this could be for multiple reasons.
”We’ve seen a significant increase, of not only $100 bills, but also $20 bills that are making their way through our local businesses,” said Wallace police chief James Crayton.
Officials say counterfeit bills are easy to spot — just pay attention to what it says on it and feel the bill to make sure it’s real.
“Some of them are made for movie money that people have. And some are just straight photocopies that people have printed onto paper that are still making their way through the hands that are receiving that money,” said Crayton.
Officials warned that marking pens may not always work because people can simply change existing money to make it a higher denomination.
“The texture is there,” said Crayton. “And the marking pen will still work like it’s supposed to because it’s detecting the currency.”
The police department has been distributing pamphlets and flyers to local businesses with the details that are in United States currency to help solve the problem.
When distributing info to Express Mini Mart, the cashier gave the officer counterfeit money he received over three months ago. The cashier said that he held onto it because he knew it wasn’t real and wanted to give it to the police.
Crayton said this is a serious issue for local businesses.
“There’s some serious loss for our local businesses when this happens. And I think our local businesses have plenty of other things to worry about in terms of finding employees and keeping employees right now in the midst of COVID and everything else going on,” said Crayton.
Crayton said it’s been happening all over Eastern North Carolina. He thinks part of the reason is because of COVID-19 and people being out of work. He also adds that this crime of opportunity is a serious felony.
“There are some pretty serious criminal ramifications that come with this kind of business, so I would caution those that are in the business of creating and passing these notes to be wary of that,” said Crayton.