Since we were youngsters most of us have been painfully aware that money doesn't grow on trees. Nor should it come from some ne'er do wells printer. But the latter is what is happening across south Louisiana. Police say scammers are using smaller denominations of currency and "reprinting" them to look like bills that are worth a lot more.

Police in Eunice say they have noticed an increase in reports from retailers concerning fake money. They also say the scammers are getting pretty good at making the fakes. One method the counterfeiters use involves the bleaching of smaller denominations of cash and then reprinting the "cleaned sheet" to look like a bill that is worth significantly more.

The reason the bad guys go to all the trouble of destroying smaller currency is so when cashiers verify the bill with a pen, you've seen them do that usually with a highlighter, the bill appears to be made of real money. Which it is. The problem is it's not worth the numbers that have been reprinted on its face.

Police recommend that retailers verify bills using an ultraviolet light. This kind of lighting will show the inconsistencies in the fake bills compared to the real bills.

Police also suggest that if a retailer encounters someone attempting to pass counterfeit bills that they call police immediately. In fact, they request that cashiers attempt to hold the person passing the funny money at the store until police can arrive.

Law enforcement agencies from around the area also suggest that you take a look at what's in your wallet, especially if you have been making a lot of cash transactions. Should you suspect that some of the cash you have in your hands is not real simply contact your local law enforcement agency and they will advise you of what your next steps should be.

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