Dora Police Chief John Duchock said the department is seeing one or two bills passed each day in the area. Duchock said the bills they are seeing are $20 bills, and that the forgeries are good imitations.
“They are very similar to the real bills,” Duchock said. He said that many of the counterfeits are being caught by local bank employees when businesses make their deposits.
Duchock said they have received hundreds of dollars in counterfeit over the last three weeks. Some of the bills have the same serial numbers, but others have different serial numbers. Many of them have been passed at small local establishments and eateries.
Neighboring Sumiton said they have only had one report of counterfeit recently, a $20 bill, was detected by an alert cashier and reported before the business suffered any loss.
The Sumiton-area Business Alliance hosted a class last fall on recognizing counterfeit money.
U.S. Secret Service Senior Special Agent K.C. Allman showed business owners how to identify counterfeit and even showed them counterfeit bills seized from other investigations.
“We’re glad we had the opportunity to provide local businesses with the information for counterfeit identification, and the tools to protect their businesses,” Sumiton Assistant Police Chief Scott Karr said.
Among Allman’s tips for identification were using a magnifying glass to detect imperfections and feeling the bills. Real bills are printed on a woven cotton material and have a textured feel, while fake bills are printed on paper and feel smooth.
The Secret Service is investigating the current case with Dora Police. Video of suspects passing this money at local businesses has been obtained and Duchock said they have a list of suspects in the case.
Duchock said that interviews with suspects have revealed that the bills have also been passed in Cordova and Parrish.
The Secret Service provides the following guidelines for businesses that believe they may have been given a counterfeit bill:
•Do not return it to the passer.
•Delay the passer if possible.
•Observe the passer's description, as well as that of any companions, and the license plate numbers of any vehicles used.
•Contact your local police department or United States Secret Service field office.
Dora police can be reached by calling (205) 648-9110 or Sumiton police by calling (205) 648-3261.
•Write your initials and the date in the white border areas of the suspect note.
•Limit the handling of the note. Carefully place it in a protective covering, such as an envelope.
•Surrender the note or coin only to a properly identified police officer or a U.S. Secret Service special agent.