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'Funny Money' Not Very Funny in Wilson

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WILSON — Today's counterfeiters are getting better at running their racket, and more folks are getting fooled. In Wilson, the problem with funny money is becoming especially bad.

Two or three fake bills are showing up every day. Police in the area say the lesson for everyone is to check your cash and check carefully.

Could you tell a real $10 bill from a fake one? Many people cannot.

Fake money is going high-tech and becoming more common in Wilson.

"The computer printers that we have now are high quality. The copy machines that are being made now are so good that you put a bill on there and it looks almost like the real thing," said Lt. Carl Turnage of the Wilson Police Department.

Almost real, but not perfect. There are some things you should look for.

The color of fake bills is inconsistent and just does not look right. There is also not as much detail.

WRAL asked Wilson police to blow up some of the bills to show the differences. The genuine bill is much more detailed than the fake one.

Also, real bills have a hidden line that simply cannot be copied correctly.

But what if you cannot see well enough to notice the subtleties? Do what the banks do. They feel for fakes.

"Usually copy paper is kind of slick. It has that slick texture to it where a real bill is almost like feeling a piece of cloth," said Nancy Overcash of the Heritage Bank.

The key, experts say, is to slow down and inspect your money. Counterfeiters know when you are in a hurry.

"If you take one of these bills in a hurry and you're not paying attention to the bill, it's easy to take it and not realize it's counterfeit until later on," said Turnage.

Another thing that is happening is that people in the area are starting to get the money from local stores.

Police say if you get stuck with a fake, you should report it immediately. The store that gave it to you might exchange it for the real thing, but they're not required to.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
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