McLEAN, Va. (12/30/08)--As the economy sours, more consumers are trying to pass counterfeit bills, according to a Sunday USA Today article. The number of arrests for counterfeiting increased 28% this year and is the highest since 2004. Counterfeiters passed a record $64.4 million in fake bills--a 5% increase over last year. The spike in counterfeit bills is due to the struggling economy, Lt. Alfonzo Cook of the Moultrie, Ga., detective division, told USA Today. More technologically advanced printers and scanners make the bills easier to duplicate, the newspaper said. Police say counterfeiters use the fake bills for small purchases--such as $20 for gas and food. Counterfeiters also use the bills to pay for holiday gifts. The holidays are a great time to use counterfeit bills because cashiers are overwhelmed, said John Large, Secret Service special agent. For the full article, use the link.