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    Counterfeit Bills On the Rise in Savannah, Ga.

    Cashiers encouraged to inspect bills carefully to prevent store losses.

    SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Fake $20 and $50 bills are on the rise again in Savannah, according to a report in the Savannah Morning News. While investigators say that in many cases the fakes aren't very good, they will pass if retailers don't look closely.

    Recent incidents include $500 in homemade money being passed at the Hyatt Regency Savannah earlier this week. Det. Robert Chandler, who investigates financial crimes for the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, said incidents are up, in part, because of the frenetic pace of the holiday period, the report stated. But, he said, people also are getting more resourceful with their desktop printers.

    "It's up quite a bit," Chandler said. "Right now I think it's just individuals doing it." Fakes of $20s -- both the old style and the new -- are most popular with the scammers, he said. Also, knock-offs of the new bills, which have a number of hard-to-duplicate security features, are of particularly poor quality, he said. But in a dark nightclub or at a busy convenience store, someone could be fooled.

    "During the holiday season, businesses are busier than normal," said Bucky Burnsed, public information officer for Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police in the Savannah Morning News report. "Cashiers may see a long line and want to try to get the customers out quickly."

    Police are urging businesses to take the time to inspect bills before a customer has time to leave the store. Fakes created on a computer printer, for example, can have unusual dot patterns. Magnifying lenses and special pens can help spot counterfeits quickly, according to the report.

    If a bill is suspect, making note of the person's identity or description -- as well as holding onto the bill in question -- will aid authorities.

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