LOUISVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Louisville Police say they have recovered more than $ 10,000 worth of fake bills and money orders during February.
“The merchants have been made aware of it and are now very tentative of $ 100 bills and other money that might be fake,” says LPD Captain of Investigations Mike Perkins.
Perkins says they found over $ 7,000 in counterfeit bills during a traffic stop Tuesday night after Gregory’s Food Mart reported that someone tried to pay them with a fake money order.
“We also had reports that a person bought a car and was given four $ 1,000 money orders and realized later that the money orders were forged,” he says.
LPD investigators say they’ve recovered five forged money orders since February 1, 2022.
The fake $ 100 bills can be easy to catch.
“We mark the bills, it should turn yellow, and if it turns black or brown, it’s probably counterfeit,” says Gregory’s co-owner Shannon Gregory. “Also, you can tell by the way it feels, and you can look for the blue stripe and the hologram.”
The problem with the money orders: They are real.
Investigators say these counterfeiters are purchasing actual money orders for $ 1 and then forging them to make it look like they’re worth $ 1,000.
“Using computer-generated printers to add the three more extra zeros,” Perkins says.
Gregory’s Food Mart says they won’t even sell money orders of that size.
“It costs 75 cents to print a money order, so it’s just not feasible to print one for a dollar,” says manager Brenda Leone.
Stores that are scammed by counterfeiters can end up paying a high price.
“If we could never identify who it was that actually passed (the money order), the merchant or the individual can actually be out $ 1,000,” Perkins says.
Perkins is advising all businesses in the Louisville area and beyond not to accept money orders worth exactly $ 1,000 at this time.
“That’s all we’re seeing and that’s all our surrounding agencies are seeing, is money orders made out to exactly $ 1,000.”
Anyone who suspects someone is trying to pay with counterfeit cash or money orders should contact the police immediately.