Counterfeit money is making its way around East Nashville and tricking restaurant employees.

We've all seen that pen restaurants, banks, and stores use to make sure your cash is real.

“I would’ve trusted it if I had it, but apparently these ones going around are beyond that," Jesse Hamilton, Village Pub & Beer Garden owner said.

Hamilton said someone gave them a fake $100 bill on Saturday. His employee found out the hard way when he tried to deposit it at the bank.

“It just doesn’t feel good that somebody would be coming from our area taking advantage of businesses like that and just really outright theft," Hamilton said.

The Secret Service office in Nashville showed News4 how to spot counterfeit bills. 

Special Agent in Charge Todd Hudson said the scammers are using real money, but changing the dollar amount.

They remove the ink and print the new amount on the old bill.

“When it’s being exchanged, it feels good because it’s the real paper. The pen that is used in the marketplace is not a guarantee that bill is in fact genuine," Hudson said.

Hudson said if you think someone hands you fake money:

  1. Hold onto it
  2. Contact law enforcement
  3. Give them details about who gave it to you

It's enough for Hamilton to stop taking bills over $20 and consider going cash free.

“If this is something that technology is allowing people to get better at, I want to be proactive about it and not get burned again," Hamilton said.

One of the best ways to find out if your money is real is to hold it up to the light and see if the face matches the watermark.

The Secret Service has more information about the signs of real bills.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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

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