It's the biggest counterfeit money haul in recent memory, according to Sterling Police.
A QCA trio connected to hundreds of dollars in bogus cash, has police warning local businesses to keep an eye out for phony money.
Counterfeit $20 bills got around to five different stores in Sterling, and possibly some in Galesburg and Clinton.
Police said the far reach of the fake cash, could have been prevented by taking some simple steps.
"It just takes a couple extra seconds but it's gonna save a lot of hassle in the long run," said Detective Ryan Brownell of the Sterling Police Department.
The Sterling JCPenny was one of the stores that got tricked.
While the major corporation has no doubt dealt with counterfeits before...
"We have a policy and procedures here at JCPenny," said Clay Phillips, an employee.
This time, the fake twenties slipped through.
Police said there are a couple easy ways to tell if a bill is real or not.
First, businesses should equip cashiers with counterfeit detector pens.
Next step, hold the bill up to the light.
"If you hold it up to a light source, any bills higher than a one dollar bill I believe have a watermark on the right hand side of the bill," said Detective Brownell.
There's a security strip on the left hand side you should also be able to see.
Then, put a real bill next to what you think is a fake one.
"So if you run your fingernail across maybe the shirt of the picture of the person in the picture, you'll be able to feel the ridges," said Detective Brownell.
Finally, look at the detailed line work.
If it's a real bill, it'll be clear and intricate.
In light of the forgeries, Sterling police are thinking about even more preventative measures.
"Educating any local business owners or managers who want to come in on how to detect if money is counterfeit. We may also suggest having someone possibly from the secret service come in," said Detective Brownell.
All the $20 bills recovered this weekend had the same two serial numbers.
Those two numbers are:
Sterling police are asking you to take a second look if you think you have a fake.
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