NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — You may want to take a closer look at the cash in your wallet.
The Secret Service has issued a nationwide alert about a sharp increase in counterfeit money being used, and Sen. Chuck Schumer is targeting online sellers like Amazon and eBay to address the problem.
The cash Leonardo DiCaprio’s character used in the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” was just a prop. It’s what law enforcement calls “motion picture money.” The problem is the fake bills are now showing up at everyday businesses.
“The real counterfeiting is painstaking. It costs a lot of money and you have to be very skilled. To get money like [movie money], all you have to do is go online,” Schumer said.
There’s been a 25% increase in the passing of the hard-to-detect motion picture bills, according to law enforcement.
Scams include fake big notes being used for cheap items so crooks can get the change in real cash.
With the holiday shopping season underway, the concern is that it will get even worse.
Shop owner Matthew Grobman told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas they mostly use a pen to check cash from customers.
“We can mark the bill to see if it’s counterfeit or if it’s real. But for the most part, there are so many transactions we can’t even keep up,” he said.
That’s why the Secret Service launched the campaign “Operation Quick Glance.” It urges consumers and businesses to take a closer look at the money they receive and then teaches them how to determine if it’s real or fake.
In a video posted to Twitter, officials say, “Sometimes the font looks very similar to genuine currency and other times it’s in bold black and it’s a little more obvious.”
This holiday season the Secret Service wants you to know your money!
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) November 27, 2019
The signs are easy to miss.
That’s why Schumer has urged the Internet Association, which represents online sellers like eBay and Amazon, to improve its vetting to curb the counterfeit trend.
“I will propose a law if we find the administrations of the Internet Association to their sellers doesn’t work,” Schumer said.
Business owners like Grobman are banking on the holidays and hope their customers stay honest.