BRANDON, Fla. -- Ripped off and on the run.
A local restaurant is warning others to watch for counterfeit cash that may be spreading to other Tampa Bay area restaurants.
La Septima Cafe in Brandon issued a warning of phony cash being passed around on their Facebook page. The restaurant said the suspect used a fake $100 bill to pay for his food.
The suspect then pocketed the change, the restaurant said on its Facebook page.
Just a couple of doors down, Carmen Wilson with Gigi's Fabrics said hearing about the counterfeit cash is "really eyeopening to the small-business owner."
"You don't know who's the bad guy," Wilson said. “It just saddens me as a small shop myself. It really affects a small business so I’m very disappointed to hear.”
The family-owned Spanish restaurant is hoping no other Brandon businesses get caught in the center of the scam.
Amanda Grant of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said small-business owners are hit the hardest when scammers use fake cash.
"When it comes down to it, these people are taking advantage of hard-working mom-and-pop shops who have poured their heart, their soul, their time and their dedication into their business so it’s far from victimless,” Grant said.
When it comes to preventing this from happening to you, Grant shared an important pointer to look for.
“You’ll see the magnetic strip right there and again, this is printed on linen so it has a different feel than paper,” she said.