A woman has a warning for the Mid-State about counterfeit cash involving small bills. 

It's a scam that usually involves higher denominations.

A trip to buy Amye Melton's nephew a Happy Meal at McDonald's came with an unpleasant surprise.

"As I went to pay for the Happy Meal, I gave them four or five dollar bills and she handed three of them back to me and said that they were counterfeit," Melton said.

Melton started retracing her steps before she went to the Clarksville drive thru. That day more than two weeks ago, she stopped at three other businesses.

“Of course, I’m shocked and I went I don’t want them, handed them back, and said you keep them," Melton said.

The BBB said it's the latest counterfeit cash scam. They've only had a few reports in Clarksville, but it's enough to get the word out.

“They’ve found an opportunity here to take full advantage and you know what, you can spend a lot of money $1 bills," Robyn Householder with the BBB said.

Householder expects to see more cases pop up. She said everyone needs to be aware.

“Most companies know to check $20s, $50s, $100s, but often companies aren’t going to necessarily consider a $1 bill or $5 bill to be a problem," Householder said.

Now they should. The bills are convincing enough to fool most people.

“Even when she showed it to me, it looked so good to me. I still didn’t see what she was talking about," Melton said.

The BBB told News4 how someone can identify counterfeit cash.

Two best identifiers for any denomination $1-$100:

  • A distinct feel. The paper is 1/4 linen and the ink should feel a bit "raised."
  • Red and blue threads woven in and out of the bill. Most counterfeiters try to achieve this look by printing red and blue threads on the surface of the note. If you look closely at their work, you will see that the threads are on the surface.

Other ways to make sure a bill isn't fake for $5 and above:

  • Hold it up to the light. A watermark of the portrait on the bill should be there. 
  • A ribbon should also be there that says the value of the money.

You can also find out the full security features for each denomination.

If you find a fake bill, report it to the police or your local Secret Service office. 

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A graduate of the University of Florida, Cameron joined News4 in December 2018.

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