TEMPE, AZ - Nina Ameli thought she had struck a pretty good deal at her yard sale last weekend when a couple wanted to buy a few of the knickknacks she was getting rid of.
"Before I saw the money or felt it, I counted their change, gave it to them, they gave me the fifty, and I put it in my little box," Ameli said.
The couple offered her a fifty dollar bill and she gave them $34 bucks in change.
"By the time I started to feel it, and it registered that it could be a counterfeit, they were already gone," she said.
By the time Nina realized the couple had passed her a bogus bill, they were long gone. Now she's out that money, and police say there's little she can do.
"The bill is worthless. It's not real money," Jeffrey Glover with the Tempe Police Department said.
Nina is hopping mad she didn't catch on, and, looking back says the fast-talking couple scammed her the whole way.
"Yeah, they were distracting me with other questions, and by the time I had given them their change, it was too late."
She says people need to double check big bills, and make sure you don't become a victim.
She says the sting of being duped is worse than the toll it took on her yard sale.
"I feel betrayed, deceived, and pretty upset that people would do something like that," Ameli said.
The Secret Service provides some easy way to spot counterfeit bills .
The portrait on the bill is one of the first things to look at.
A portrait on a real bill "appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background."
On a fake bill, the portrait will look "useless and flat."
On the border, consumers should note a clear and unbroken line if it's a real bill. The lines on a fake one are blurry.
When you look at the serial numbers, they should be evenly spaced.
On a fake bill, the numbers "may differ in color or shade of ink from the Treasury seal".
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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