Secret Service warns of fake money popping up around Metro Detroit

Phony $20, $50, $100 bills pop up

DETROIT – The Secret Service is on the case after phony $20, $50 and $100 bills have started showing up.

"There's been a rash of counterfeit currency passing in the entire Detroit metro area," Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brian Sharlow said.

Federal sources said Detroit's Secret Service field office made an arrest last week and is still actively working leads. A lot of the fake bills showed up in the Woodward corridor over the last week. Banks have been warning small business owners to be alert.

If you follow tips from the Secret Service, it's pretty easy to spot the funny money just by looking at it. For starters, real bills have color shifting ink that shimmers and changes colors in regular light.

The feel of the paper used in real currency is extremely hard to duplicate, and if you have a small business that gets a lot of cash in and out, forget the bill-checking pens, they can be duped. Instead, buy a small UV light for $30.

Real money has a security thread which illuminates in different colors and different locations depending on the denomination.

Secret Service agents said in the majority of cases, people are knowingly passing these fake bills, but you don't need to panic about what's in your own wallet.

"There's no worry about currency getting into the general population," Sharlow said. "It's usually caught at the bank and then turned over to us."

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