Effingham Police Department has seen an increase in the reports of counterfeit bills in and around the Effingham area.

Multiple businesses and even individuals in the Effingham area have been affected, with almost a dozen instances being reported in the month of September alone.

The bulk of the cases involve $100 bills, which have the appearance of real currency, but lack certain security features. However, there have been multiple reports of fraudulent lower demonization bills as well. In addition, many of the bills are printed with lettering which resembles legitimate currency at first glance, but states: “For Motion Picture Purposes.... It is Not Legal Tender.” Many of the bills currently being passed illegally also include foreign writing such as Chinese, which is stamped in pink or red ink. This type of fake currency can be purchased at online retailers, and is not intended as authentic currency.

While the use of counterfeit cash is not new (the Department of Treasury estimates over $70 million worth of fake bills are in current circulation, which is about one in every 10,000), small and large businesses should still be on the lookout for imitations. All currency which is suspected to be counterfeit is seized by Effingham Police Department and sent to the United States Secret Service for continued investigation. There have been multiple arrests this year in the Midwest and East Coast as Federal investigations have led to some of the sources of this corrupt currency.

Chief Jeffrey Fuesting wants businesses and citizens to be aware that this currency is being used in and around Effingham. He warns business owners to train their employees to spot forgeries. “Criminals are utilizing the latest and most advanced technology to create forgeries with the intent to defraud our local businesses. Educating employees on how to determine if currency is genuine, legal tender is the number one key to prevent becoming a victim to this crime. “

If you suspect a counterfeit note or have information about counterfeiting activity, please report it immediately to Effingham Police Department. For your personal safety, please follow these tips from the United States Department of Treasury:

Do not put yourself in danger.

Do not return the bill to the passer.

Delay the passer with some excuse, if possible.

Observe the passer's description - and their companions' descriptions - and write down their

vehicle license plate numbers if you can.

Contact your local Law Enforcement Agency.

Write your initials and date in the white border area of the suspected counterfeit note.

DO NOT handle the counterfeit note. Place it inside a protective cover, a plastic bag, or envelope

to protect it until it is given to a Police Officer.

Surrender the note or coin ONLY to a properly identified Police Officer.

For more information on counterfeiting and how to prevent it, visit https://USCurrency.gov online or contact Effingham Police Department Office of Community Policing at 217-342-5318.

If you see it, say it! The Effingham Police Department encourages you to call the police department immediately at 217-347-0774 to report suspicious activity in your neighborhood or business district. Information can be given anonymously by calling the CRIMESTOPPERS Tip Line at 217- 347-6583. Anonymous callers can receive up to $1,000 cash rewards.