Financial crimes like ATM skimmers, counterfeit money spread across Columbus

Published: Mar. 6, 2015 at 11:09 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2017 at 3:41 PM EST
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Members of the Columbus Financial Crimes unit, who have been dealing with a spike in financial crimes so far this year, said many criminals wait until the end of the work week to install ATM skimmers.

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - "Usually what happens is they will come in on a Friday night when the businesses are closed, try to put one on, and they're gone again by Monday morning," said Sergeant John Bailey with the Columbus Financial Crimes Unit. 
Only this time, officials got to them first. Columbus police found two locations where skimmers were put on ATM'S this week in the valley area.

Officials with the Financial Crimes Unit say the illegal devices usually pop up once or twice a year. They would not release where, but assure that the skimming devices were confiscated.

"All the skimmers have been removed, video footage is being looked at and stuff like that. As of right now we know of no skimmers in the area," Bailey said. 
Counterfeit money is also concerning officials, and has been steadily growing since January. Over the last few weeks, law enforcement in Muscogee county have made two arrests, while multiple related warrants are still out.

Fifty dollar bills and $100 bills are the most commonly replicated currency, and officials say one way you can spot a counterfeit bill is by closely feeling it.
"Most of the time, the counterfeit money does not feel the same as the currency floating around. It's always a different quality paper because they're not able to get the quality of paper that's used for the US treasury," Bailey said. 
The Financial Crimes department is also dealing with a spectrum of illegal activity from identity theft to local scams.

They encourage people to be aware of the current trends in crime so they don't become the next victims and to remember if it sounds too good to be true, a lot of the times it is.  

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