CHAMPAIGN — Champaign police are warning merchants to be particular about the cash they take in payment for goods or services.
Over the past few weeks, the police department has received several reports of counterfeit bills being presented at area businesses.
While there is an ongoing investigation with the United States Secret Service, police want businesses and citizens to know about the uptick in the amount of fake cash.
Investigators have learned that much of the counterfeit currency is often placed into circulation by passing it through several people, who then continue to circulate the bills by making small purchases at area businesses.
Many of the counterfeit bills police have recovered — in denominations ranging from $1 to $100 — came from businesses located on or near North Prospect Avenue.
Several recent reports also involve people using the counterfeit money for pizza deliveries and at fast food restaurants.
Police are warning business people to be wary of people who attempt to pass along the fake money or ask for bills to be traded out or for change for bigger bills.
Police have also received reports of large sums of counterfeit cash being distributed or tossed into groups of people.
Anyone with information on people involved with counterfeiting currency can call the Champaign Police Department, at (217) 351-4545 or callers can remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers at 373-8477 (TIPS.) Information can also be sent by anonymous web tip by going to:www.373tips.com or by texting keyword “CCTIP” plus the information to 274637 (CRIMES).