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Bogus Bills Crop Up for Holiday Shopping Season

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DURHAM — Millions of dollars change hands during the holiday season, but this year you need to be on the lookout because there is some funny money floating around the Triangle.

Counterfeit money is cropping up more often in Raleigh, Hillsborough and Durham where police say they are recovering three or four bogus bills a week.

"I don't know if it is the season or if someone has inundated the market with this," said Maj. Dwight Pettiford.

Small businesses, gas stations, restaurants and shops where money turns over quickly have been hit.

Pettiford showed WRAL features of the new bills that help prevent counterfeiting even with laser printers and scanners.

However, bills showing up in the Triangle are of the old design.

"These bills have a smutty tint or a used smutty tint to them. It doesn't look like a bill that has just been dispensed from a bank," said Pettiford.

Anyone can be victimized by a counterfeiter especially during the busy holiday season.

The best hint of a bad bill is that it feels slick like regular paper, and the color may be off.

"People are in a rush, but every time something looks good doesn't mean that it is really good," explained Pettiford.

There have been no arrests reported, but penalties for counterfeiting are stiff. There is a fine involved as well as up to 15 years in prison.