KINGSPORT, Tenn. - The Kingsport Police Department wants the public to know they've seen an increase in counterfeit currency circulating the area.
Tom Patton, public information officer, say they've seen 30 cases reported in the past month. The police department received eight cases just over the weekend; as many bills circulated at Fun Fest and at various fast food restaurants.
He says the police can often narrow the bills down to a single source, but these cases are unique because the bills are coming from many sources. "We're finding people getting money as change from a purchase, getting it at a private party transaction, a business transaction. We've had some bills allegedly come right out of ATM machines, and some of them be handed directly to a person from a bank teller," Patton says.
Kingsport Police say counterfeiters are getting creative with a new technique. They are taking regular $5 and $10 bills, bleaching them, and then printing them in higher denominations.
Patton warns people to look out for two things. First, when you put bills into the light, the watermarks on the right side of the bill showing the president's face should match the face seen on the bill. Also, each bill should contain a unique serial number -- no one should hand over several bills with the same serial number
The law requires anyone in possession of counterfeit money to notify law enforcement immediately and turn the bill in, Patton says.
The Kingsport Police Department takes initial reports and then everything is turned over to the Secret Service.