Missoula police are receiving reports of fraudulent or counterfeit casino gaming tickets that people are redeeming for cash.

Public Information Officer Travis Welsh says the tickets are usually worn or look as it they have been in someone's pocket for several days.

"Merchants are trading these tickets for cash, only to find out later that the tickets are actually forgeries," Welsh said. "It's happening enough so that we're concerned that there may be an attempt by a small group of people to try to defraud different businesses around Missoula with these forged gaming tickets."

Welsh says there may be telltale signs that a ticket has been faked.

"They may be taking a genuine ticket and using it as a template to make illegal copies," he said. "What they do is make a copy and then fold it up, put it in their pocket and carry it around for a few hours to make it look worn, and then they pass that off as being a genuine ticket."

Welsh offers the best clue as to whether a gaming ticket is genuine.

"When people win at a casino or gaming establishment, they want to cash that ticket right away," Welsh said. "Merchants should be suspicious when someone attempts to redeem a folded or worn-looking ticket that may be days or weeks old."

Welsh said anyone who has suspicions that fraudulent tickets are being redeemed should contact Detective Stacey Lear at 552-6300.