Juneau business owners have reported a rash of fake or counterfeit $50 and $100 bills over the last month, with nine separate incidents reported thus far.
A majority of the incidents involved bills with “Motion Picture Use Only” printed on them, said Juneau Police Department spokesperson Erann Kalwara. The bills were used or attempted to be used at a variety of locations, including convenience stores and fast food outlets.
“They went to areas where people are standing in line, making payments and moving through real quick,” she said.
Without close inspection, the bills may appear real with the exception of the “Motion Picture Use Only” notation. One incident involved a bill described as having “Chinese writing” on it and one appeared to be a counterfeit attempt, Kalwara said.
These bills, called “motion picture money” or “prop money,” are easily available for purchase online through eBay, Etsy or Amazon, for instance, at a cost of about $1 per fake bill. Some, but not all, will have a thick blue line across the bill to mark it as fake.
A few of the phony bills were passed successfully, Kalwara said Tuesday afternoon. In one case, the fake was not discovered until the staff went to make a deposit, she added.
JPD was encouraging businesses to direct staff, particularly those working in fast-paced settings or settings that may divert their attention, to keep a vigilant watch for these bills. They were being urged to check incoming bills carefully and spend time with employees to familiarize them with the color, clarity, quality and safety features of American currency.
If a fake or counterfeit bill is encountered, contact JPD at 586-0600 or Juneau Crime Line online at juneaucrimeline.com.