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Secret Service warns of counterfeit cash

CHAMPAIGN -- Businesses are being taken advantage of and losing money because of it.
CHAMPAIGN -- Businesses are being taken advantage of and losing money because of it. The U.S. Secret Service launched an investigation after several businesses got counterfeit cash.

It's been happening to businesses mainly on North Prospect. It was enough for the Secret Service and police department to issue a public safety warning.

People have been paying with fake cash at businesses, without employees realizing. Now managers are making a plan, to put an end to it.

"I've been at Papa Del's for over 20 years," manager Jerry Grimes said.

In his time there, he's only dealt with counterfeit cash once.

"We were just pretty much out the money."

He's heard about what's been happening to area businesses recently.

Just a few weeks ago someone bought food with a fake $10 bill at Fazoli's on North Prospect. At Dominoes on Green Street, it's happened twice recently. But the second time, the manager noticed the customer's $20 was fake and asked her to pay with something else.

The Secret Service says people are using the bogus bills for small purchases to keep the money circulating. Most of the fake cash is being used during pizza deliveries but Grimes says he's got that covered.

"We use caller ID on all of the phone calls and even when people come in off the street for pick-up," Grimes said.

That's just part of his plan, but he and other area managers hope this investigation ends in arrests soon before it puts a big financial dent on local businesses.

"It's a loss for the business. It can be tough. Especially the way the economy's been lately."

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