DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – During the holiday season, an increase of people plan to return or exchange items in stores. But that’s not the only thing increasing in the city of Darlington.
The Darlington Police Department is warning people across the city about a counterfeit money operation.
Within the past week six police reports were filed from businesses across the city who encountered counterfeit money.
The money is just like any other bill you may have in your pocket, it comes in the form of twenties, fifties and even one hundred dollar bills.
Cashiers at local businesses are likely paying greater attention to detail this holiday season.
“Some of the money is so good even when we mark it, it marks good but it is not,” said Piggly Wiggly Bookkeeper Tammy Sessoms.
Sessoms says employees check each bill with a pen to determine whether it is the real deal or a bogus bill.
“It hurts everybody because like I said it slows everything down and you hurt legitimate people,” Sessoms added.
Counterfeit money has popped up a lot recently in the city of Darlington.
Over a one-week period, counterfeit bills were passed at six businesses like Walgreens, Walmart and even several grocery stores.
“We’ve had several fifties in the last week, you look at them and it looks like play money,” said Sessoms.
The Darlington Police Department says this type of money pops up often during the holidays because it’s an easy time to target businesses.
Shoppers like Leroy Conyers say he was once a victim of counterfeit money too. He says you never know what you may have in your pockets until you spend it
“We don’t really know what it is until we get to the cash register and they tell us its counterfeit money, where you get it from and you say actually I just bought something and it was given to me,” Conyers added.
Employees say because of the number of people going through stores each day, it can be hard for them to check every bill they receive.
“When you’re busy and counting you’re not, sometimes you’re not just paying attention, depends on the time of day what you got going on but then we’re stuck with it,” explained Sessoms.
Police say ounterfeit operations often target one specific store and then hit many others, all in one day. This includes big box companies like Walmart.
The Darlington Police Department sent news 13 a picture of a man who used seven counterfeit one hundred dollar bills to buy an ipad at Walmart three days before Christmas.
The report says none of the bills the suspect used were checked and each had a different serial number.
Meanwhile, police say the problem is not just local, but nationwide.
“It is just the chance you take to take money that is not even good and you didn’t do anything wrong, so crooks make it hard for all of us,” Sessoms explained.
Police say whether you know a bill is counterfeit or not as a consumer trying to pass it is a serious crime.
The Darlington Police Department asks if you have any information or have a counterfeit bill to contact police.