Often referred to as "funny money," it's far from a laughing matter. Within the last week at least two fake $20 bills have surfaced at one local credit union. While customers who present the money are often innocent, officials with First Mississippi Credit Union say it's the victims who are left to pay the price.
"We have to take the bill," says Denise Hull who is the head teller at 1st. Mississippi Federal Credit Union. "We can't give you another one. We have to take it and send it off."
All confiscated bills are then sent to the secret service where a further investigation continues to trace its origin. As for the customer, he or she is not reimbursed.
With innocent customers left to foot the bill, First Mississippi officials are offering some tips on how you can pick out counterfeit cash.
One of the key indicators is texture.
"The numbers on the $20 and $50 bill are ribbed where you can fill it. They can't mock that yet," says Kim Johnson with 1st. Mississippi FCU.
Aside from fake bills being smoother in texture, officials say legitimate bills have faint words, symbols and pictures engrained in them that often can only be seen when held up to the light.
With $20 bills and up as the most common culprits, credit union officials say the key is counting your cash carefully.
"Because if you're not paying good attention, you won't have what you think you have!"
Manufacturing counterfeit cash is a federal crime which could lead to jail time.