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Sunday, Aug 02, 2015
Local News

Authorities warn about return of counterfeit bills

Special to Highlands Today staff
Published:   |   Updated: August 29, 2014 at 03:15 PM

—Over the past few weeks, Highlands County merchants are once again seeing a number of counterfeit bills being passed after purchases, authorities said Friday.

This is not limited to Highlands County but has also been reported in Polk and Hardee counties, the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. The denominations have mostly been small bills, $5, $10 and some $20s, however, neighboring counties have also seen larger denominations.

“This activity has been concentrated in the US 27 corridor at this time, however, all businesses should pay close attention to the currency they accept,” the sheriff’s office said.

Detectives say the bills passed in Highlands County do not have a watermark nor the embedded security thread that indicates the denomination of the bill. “Holding the bill to the light you should be able to view these features,” detectives add.

To see detailed characteristics of legitimate currency, go to which is part of the United States Treasury website. On that page there are links to each of the denominations that explain in detail the security features of each denomination.

Those who suspect counterfeit currency, should attempt to do the following without putting themselves in danger:

Do not return the bill to the person who presented it to you.

Observe the passer’s description, any vehicle description and possibly a license tag number and the descriptions of any other people who may be with the person who passed the bill.

Contact local law enforcement.

Try to handle the bill as little as possible. Instead, put it in an envelope or plastic bag for law enforcement to pick up.

Save any video surveillance of the transaction when the counterfeit bill was passed for law enforcement.

Those who have information on anyone who possesses and/or is passing counterfeit currency should contact detective DuWayne Kelly of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Unit at 863-402-7250.

Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS(8477), or go to