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Orlando, FL—Both merchants and shoppers expect busy stores, crowded malls, and elevated security risks in the holiday shopping season. Shoplifters know they can seize the advantage while harried sales clerks’ attention is elsewhere. Jewelers, of course, are on guard year round, but luxury jewelers have yet another added concern of having larger and more expensive goods in stock for holiday.

But one thing many merchants overlook in this era of high-tech crime is old-fashioned counterfeit money, says this article in the Orlando Sentinel. According to the U.S. Secret Service, counterfeiting tends to increase around the holidays, when busy stores—especially large discount chains like Target and Walmart—are at their most vulnerable. But small independent retailers aren’t immune, either, especially if a store has hired temporary holiday help. Counterfeiters look for busy stores and inexperienced cashiers to pass the bills. They’re also most likely to pass bills of smaller denomination ($20 or under) as those attract less attention.

While cyber-crime, identity theft, and ATM skimming devices have gotten more press in recent years, the numbers for counterfeiting are pretty surprising, says the paper. Some fake bills are poorly made and easy to spot, but others are expertly done, even on real currency that’s been bleached and reprinted with a higher denomination.

To read the entire article, click here. Meanwhile, below is a diagram from the Orlando Sentinel article, showing what to look for in a bill. Another source for a diagram of what to look for--especially in the older U.S. currency--is

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