Meridian police detectives say they have received multiple complaints from businesses and individuals about counterfeit money being passed and received in the Meridian area.
The MPD said it's also working with other agencies to try to identify and arrest those possibly involved in the making and circulation of the counterfeit bills.
Investigators say an increasing number of fake money has appeared in the past month, especially in the last week. The denominations have ranged from $5 to $100. Officials say the bills have turned up at restaurants, convenience stores, sporting events, concession stands, and night clubs.
Individuals have also claimed to have received counterfeit bills from banks and ATMs.
Detectives advise businesses and individuals to carefully inspect any received bills. There are several easy indicators that can be used to distinguish counterfeit currency from legal tender.
* The feel of the bill is probably the best indicator as to whether a bill is real or counterfeit; real bills when rubbed tend to have a more textured surface versus a counterfeit's smooth surface.
* Look for the security strip that is embedded in the bill which denotes the bill amount.
* Look for printing that is misaligned with the paper stock, as well as uneven borders.
* Look at the actual size of the bill; occasionally counterfeit bills will be slightly larger or smaller than a true bill.
* Look for the embedded watermark with features the image on the face on the bill.
* One should look for the color-shifting ink used to print official currency.
* The printing on the bills should be crisp and not blurred.
* One should look for the blue and red silk fibers embedded in the paper stock of official currency.
* Since the ink used in printing official currently never truly dries, one can rub the bill on a white background and if the ink transfers this is a good indicator that the bill is genuine.
* One should look for two pieces of paper glued together. Front image and back image pasted together.
* If you have access to a marking pen, please use it. Occasionally these pens, especially if old, will give a false positive, meaning that a real bill will show as counterfeit; if this happens please observe the other security measures. If they are not present notify the local police department.
Because older bills are still in circulation that do not feature the newer enhanced security features, anyone suspecting that they may have a counterfeit bill in their possession are asked to contact their local police department or sheriff's office.
Anyone who has information about counterfeit bills being manufactured may report it to the Meridian Police Department at 601-485-1893, 601-485-1859 or Crimestoppers at 601-485-1860.