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CLEVELAND -- Counterfeit bills keep popping up in Northeast Ohio, and a big reason could be the race for the White House.

The connection is the Secret Service. Their economics crime experts are responsible for patrolling cash, and its counterfeit counterpart.

While secret service agents have other things to worry about, like protecting the President and candidates, somebody is cashing in.

"[Agents are] spread very very thin this time of year, and that's the very time that the counterfeit starts getting dumped on a community," said Chief Patrick J. Berarducci with the Medina Police Department.

Medina Police say counterfeiters are changing five dollarbills fortens, twenties, even Benjamins.

"They are taking $5 bills, and they are bleaching out the surface impression," said Berarducci. "Then they are laying down a new impression for the counterfeit. Whether it be the hundred, the ten or the twenty."

Election season annoyances go beyond the campaign ads. Now you need to keep an extra eye on your cash.

"There's no mistake about it. It's an organized ring, and they longer they keep at it, the better the chances are, we're going to catch them," he said.

The bills look and feel real, and pass a pen test for legal currency paper, but there's one thing they can't fake.

"It's not hard to spot. If you hold it up to the light, you can see Abraham Lincoln's image still in the bill," said Berarducci.

Along with the presidents matching a watermark in the light, there's a security thread which identifies the amount as well.

Ten, twenty and hundred dollar bills also have a color changing ink in the right hand corner. It's often hard for crooks to copy.

Bills with the same serial numbers have been collected at Medina's Municipal Court, several fast food chains, a Dollar General, even St. Francis Xavier church, where a 79-year-old woman took home fake winnings from Bingo.

While the cops are clued in, you'll still want to check your wallet.
"Once those bills are in circulation, they'll keep popping up, probably for months to come."

You can click here for more information on how to spot a fake.

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