Georgetown County Sheriff's Office would like the public to be alert and aware after recent spate of incidents involving imitation or hoax money.

Investigators are currently working on several reports where local vendors and merchants have been tricked by individuals passing imitation $100 bills for the purchase of goods or services.

These imitation bills are not like other counterfeit bill and are technically legal to possess and available for purchase online. The bills, which can be found in multiple denominations, are intended to be utilized as props in film productions and typically feature the phrase “FOR MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY” on both the front and rear of the bills. Although it is legal to have them, some people are knowingly attempting to use these bills to purchase goods or services committing crimes doing so.

Investigators recently encountered “Chinese Character” bills, that look identical to actual bills but have small Chinese symbols or characters printed on the backside of the note. Sometimes, these characters are scratched off in an attempt to improve the bill’s chances of being passed as genuine.

Similar instances of these bills being passed, or attempting to be passed, are currently reported nationwide. GCSO would like to remind all local merchants to be vigilant in inspecting all U.S. currency presented to them before accepting the payment.

To report anyone attempting to pass these bills as genuine, contact the Sheriff’s Office at (843) 546-5102.