The Wake Forest Police Department said officers responded to numerous reports from local businesses that received counterfeit $50 and $100 bills.
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Police are encouraging businesses to pay close attention to these currencies during their transactions.
They said the counterfeit currency is of high quality but can be detected if examined closely.
The Wake Tech Campus Police Department said $20 bills were passed at three food trucks last month that set up and serve lunch on Wake Tech's Northern Wake Campus.
Officers responded to King's Philly Cheesesteak food truck Feb. 8. A student was arrested for allegedly using fake money.
Vendors are now paying closer attention to the money they receive.
"I'm glancing over them pretty good now," said Darrin Morey, owner of The Cookie People. "I only got a couple today, so I just make sure now I'm more cautious about it."
"Food trucks are great target of opportunity because they operate so fast, because they're taking money in and giving money back so quickly," said Wake Tech Campus Police Chief Michael Penry.
Authorities in Johnston County said counterfeit money was also passed at several local businesses in the Smithfield area last month.
Bogus $50 bills were used at McDonald's on US 70 in West Smithfield, Starbucks on South Equity Drive in Smithfield and Lowes Foods on Highway 42 West at Highway 50. The same serial number was discovered on the bills passed at Starbucks and Lowes Foods.
Five counterfeit $20 bills were also passed at Skechers on Outlet Center Drive.
CAN YOU SPOT A FAKE?
The U.S. Secret Service handles cases of counterfeit money.
"There's always counterfeit money circulating at different points in time throughout the year," said Robert Trumbo, Resident Agent in Charge.
Trumbo is trained to spot a fake. He said technology is making it easier for criminals to manipulate money.
"With the scanners, with the printers, it's pretty evident it's low cost, it's low overhead," he said.
Trumbo said counterfeiting is more prevalent during the holidays and in busy areas.
"They're looking for high volume atmospheres to hide and get lost in the shuffle more or less," he said.
Trumbo said the easiest way to detect a counterfeit bill is to hold it up to a real one.
KNOW YOUR MONEY
Learn more about the Secret Service's counterfeiting investigations
If you still cannot tell the difference, contact police.
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