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Police seeking scammers

NATCHEZ — Law enforcement officials are warning local businesses to be on the lookout for counterfeit money and checks making their way around the area.

Natchez Police Department Detective Jerry Ford said at least seven businesses have reported customers using counterfeit money at their businesses.

Marcus McDonald, 38, 107 Bowles Alley, was charged for reportedly using counterfeit bills at a business.

Police believe McDonald was also purchasing money cards and loading money on them using counterfeit money, Ford said.

McDonald also reportedly used counterfeit money to pay for pizzas he had delivered to him.

Police do not believe McDonald is responsible for producing the counterfeit money.

“We believe someone else is doing it, but we don’t know who that is,” Ford said.

The high quality of the counterfeit money makes it difficult for employees and business owners to immediately notice the fake bills, Ford said. Many business owners have not discovered the money was counterfeit until they attempted to deposit it at a bank.

The money can even pass as real when employees use counterfeit money detector pens, Ford said.

The best way to spot the counterfeit money, Ford said, is to check for the plastic security strips that are on real bills and look for watermarks.

Ford said local banks have also reported counterfeit checks being cashed at their banks. The checks, he said, are being printed on paper genuine checks are printed on, making it difficult for banks to know the checks are counterfeit before cashing them.

The counterfeit checks also have routing numbers from actual businesses printed on them.

Ford cautions bank employees to be suspicious of people who want to cash checks from businesses for a large amount of cash.

“They need to contact these businesses and make sure they did authorize this check before they cash it,” he said.

Ford said NPD has notified federal law enforcement authorities and made them aware of the counterfeit money operation.

Anyone with information about the counterfeit money operation should contact Crime Stoppers at 601-442-5000.

Crime Stoppers offers a reward of up to $1,000 for a tip leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect.

Callers may remain anonymous.