Waco Police warned Wednesday about an increase in counterfeit money being circulated in Texas.
In the last fiscal year, more than $82,000 in phony bills was seized by law enforcement in a 13-county area. Normally, the figure averages between $60,000 and 70,000 -- for comparison. And, police said that was only a small percentage of the bogus currency floating around on a daily basis.
During an event at Waco Police Headquarters Wednesday, police and the U.S. Secret Service discussed ways to identify fake cash. For example, many fake bills have "for motion picture use only" printed on them -- or they come with Chinese characters. Another giveaway is when bills do not have watermarks or security threads when held up to lights.
Investigators said improved counterfeiting technology has allowed scam artists to more efficiently produce fake money, leading to the spike in bogus bills. In fiscal year 2015, digital printing systems were used to make roughly 70-percent of the $78 million worth of counterfeit money passed in the U.S.
"The equipment to do it is there, and it's easily accessible to all of us at a local electronic store or stores like Walmart, Target and places like that," Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton said.
Most of the phony cash circulating is larger bills like twenties, fifties and $100 notes. Police said even for some of the most sensitive-eyed law enforcement officers, some of the counterfeits can be tough to spot.
In the last year, zero counterfeit arrests were made in the 13-county area.
For more help identifying fake money, click here to be taken to a U.S. Secret Service break-down. To read more about how sophisticated counterfeit currency has become, check out this article from our friends at USA TODAY.