Counterfeit bills for holiday shopping?

With the holidays just around the corner and the economy still at a standstill, there are some people that could be tempted to use counterfeit bills.

But if that happens, they could face up to 20 years in jail.

"If you have a bill that you expect to be counterfeit contact the local police or secret service and surrender that bill for examination," Mark Lacey with the U.S. Secret Service's office in McAllen.

One method counterfeiters use is bleaching where the counterfeiter takes a $5 dollar bill and prints a hundred dollar on top of it.

For those businesses who use a pen to detect counterfeit -- they won't be able to with this bill.

"The problem with the pen is that it is a genuine $5 dollar bill... so if they mark that bill with the pen it will mark it as genuine--because it is a genuine five dollar bill," said Lacey.

Here are some simple tips you can follow to see if your money is real.

Check the watermark. If you hold the bill up to the light, you will notice a watermark visible on either side of the bill.

Also, there is color shifting ink on the real $20, $50 and $100 dollar bills.

When you move the bill you should notice the color switch from green to black.

Last year over $400,000 in counterfeit bills were used from Laredo to Brownsville.

For tips to detect counterfeit bills go to the Secret Service website or