Holiday Fraud

When it comes to identity theft, it can happen to anyone.

"We received notification from the fraud division that somebody had tried to charge over $4,000 on my credit card," says Sheriff Billy Sollie.

Somehow Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie says someone stole his credit card number.

"I've been told that it's much easier for someone to obtain a credit card number through utilizing a card at a store versus the internet because many stores will have a paper trail that someone can obtain a credit card number," says Sollie.

While not sure exactly how it happened, Sollie is one of the lucky ones because his credit card company caught the error. Many are not so lucky, especially when it comes to another common crime, counterfeit cash.

When it comes to identifying fake bills, investigators say often if something just doesn't look right it probably isn't. For example, a real $100 bill has bright color and proportionate size. However, one fake bill we spotted was darker in color with larger numbers. Not only that, but both sides of the bill looked exactly the same, something which officials say is a dead give away that such a bill is fake.

However, just because it looks like a fake bill, officials say that doesn't mean that it cannot slip through the cracks!

"In a low light condition, a clerk in a busy situation may easily have taken a bill like this," says Sheriff Sollie.

That's why both merchants and consumers are not only advised to thoroughly check the money they receive but also to feel it carefully. Fake bills are often smoother in texture than real ones which also have faint words, symbols and pictures engrained in them that can only be seen when held up to the light.

In this time of extensive giving and getting, Sheriff Sollie is reminding consumers that it's definitely better to be safe than sorry.

"So again, buyer beware!"

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