A $20 bill or a $100 bill might look and feel real. It might even pass a counterfeit pen test, but if it's not legitimate, you could be out the money.
Over the past few weeks, Morro Bay Police have been investigating several reports of counterfeit $20 and $100 bills.
Businesses say they are still seeing them circulate.
Morro Bay Police arrested a man and woman from Bakersfield nearly two weeks ago on suspicion of having counterfeit checks and money.
Police say they found several counterfeit $100 bills in their car when they were pulled over and officials believe they were using them at local businesses.
Melissa Davis found out her work, Pizza Port, was passed counterfeit money after the bank rejected a 100-dollar bill in a recent deposit.
Now she's teaching her employees to be extra vigilant.
"Some years you don't have any, some times there is more than others. With the influx of tourism, it creates situations where there are bad actors coming around," said Melissa Davis, general manager of Pizza Port. "It's a bummer because not only are they preying on small businesses and communities but most of the time, they will also commit a crime on other people who are here as visitors. "
Morro Bay Police Commander Amy Watkins said it's possible the bills are still circulating even after their main suspects were arrested for similar crimes.
"Typically with the $100's, is the rejection comes from the bank when the business deposit because the bank will put it through a computer test," said Commander Watkins. "For the $20's, these can go through a circulation of change and other businesses and if they don't identify it then somebody else can end up with it. "
Over the past few weeks Morro Bay PD has received several reports of counterfeit $20 and $100 bills being passed at businesses within the City. For more information on how to spot counterfeit currency visit https://t.co/P1dGCWOvbF#MorroBayPD #CounterfeitCurrency— Morro Bay Police (@MorroBayPD) February 13, 2020
Places like Dutchman's Seafood House are also training employees to keep a close eye on authentication factors.
"On a $100 bill, on the lower right-hand side, the $100 will change colors in the light if you tilt in the light, it will change from gold to green and that is really hard to counterfeit, there's also a hologram in this area that if you hold up to the light you can see," said Dan Proulx, manager of Dutchman's Seafood House.
Police said recently it is older versions of 20's and 100's that are circulating the area.
If you are unsure how to identify a fake bill from a real one, click here.