Fairhope police are reporting an unusual increase in counterfeit money being passed.

The department received five complaints about counterfeit bills during the month of January. Normally, the department received five to seven complaints per year, according to a news release.

Counterfeit bills have been passed at local businesses. Counterfeiters usually seek out restaurants and retail businesses with a high volume of customers where employees may not have time to examine a bill’s security features.

Police say the improved quality of printers on the market make counterfeiting easier. They ask retailers and members of the public to be familiar with security features of legitimate currency and check bills during transactions.

Security features are explained at the website www.uscurrency.gov/denominations-information.