State officials are warning business owners and residents about counterfeit money that has been discovered circulating through Philadelphia.
Secret Service Agent Al Feaster of Philadelphia spoke to Action News about the recent surge in fake cash. "Counterfeit is very widespread and it's keeping us busy...we are currently investigating a number of these cases."
Unfortunately, detecting counterfeit money has been more difficult for business owners and the public to detect now that counterfeiters have discovered a way to avoid detection by marker pens that assist in showing an individual if a bill is real or counterfeit.
Officials have advised those who are questioning whether their money is counterfeit or real can go to their local back or secret service office for assistance.
One Philadelphia business owner has fallen victim to counterfeit money in the last two weeks.
"All of a sudden, we saw a surge of counterfeit $20 bills and $100 bills in the store," 7-Eleven store owner Vincent Emmanuel shared. "They look almost real, but at the same time they're not real."
Emmanuel was informed by his bank of the fake money that has been flooding his store at 23rd Street and Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia.
"In the last 24 hours, there have been two different customers who tried to pass a $100 counterfeit bill, then a little kid comes in here and asks me, 'give me ones for the $20's?' They were all fake bills," he said.
"If somebody bleaches a dollar bill and they print $20 on top of that, that pen is not going to detect anything," Emmanuel said.
According to the Secret Service, anywhere between $45,000 to $50,000 of counterfeit bills makes its way through Philadelphia.
The Secret Service is now directing the public to a website called 'Know Your Money' for tips and tricks on how to decipher counterfeit money from real money.