ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) - With the holiday shopping season in full swing, a lot of cash is changing hands. That's why law enforcement officials want shoppers to be on the lookout for counterfeit cash.
The U.S. Secret Service said during the 2012 fiscal year, $80 million in counterfeit cash was passed across the country.
Local police say they see it in Central Indiana, too.
"We run into it in Anderson on a continual basis every year," said Anderson Police Detective Joel Sandefur, who specializes in investigating white collar crimes.
"Make sure you know what you're putting into your wallet when you receive it," he said, adding that if you end up with counterfeit cash, it's your loss.
The Secret Service said $20 bills are the most counterfeited of all bills.
So would you know the difference between the real thing and a fake?
First, Sandefur said look at the portrait. On a real bill, it appears lifelike and stands out from the background. The Secret Service said on counterfeits, the portrait is "usually lifeless and flat."
A security strip will appear on the side when the bill is held up in the light.
And take a good look at the paper. Genuine currency has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout. Counterfeit currency might have small red and blue lines printed on the surface, but they aren't actually embedded.
Retailers like Melissa Thompson know all that well. They have to.
"You have to watch everything," said Thompson, a convenience store manager. "We have a counterfeit machine in the check cashing where (the clerk) can check it. We have little lights — everything. It's very, very important.
And it's something Sandefur said is important for consumers to know, too.
"We still are a market that uses paper money," he said. "And as long as we have paper currency we're going to see counterfeiting."
For more information on how to detect counterfeit money, visit the U.S. Secret Service's website .
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