Beware bogus bills

Posted: Monday, July 10, 2000

If that crisp Andrew Jackson doesn't bear an iridescent number 20 in the lower right hand corner, use it to light a cigar.

On Wednesday, First Bank found a bogus $20 bill, according to bank vice president Jamey Young. First Bank warns residents to be on the lookout for the bill's kissing cousins.

The bill was detected by the automatic teller. ATMs can electronically detect inauthentic bills and then reject them; it does the same with badly damaged bills, Young said.

The newly issued bills -- the ones with the large, modern faces -- have been minted with a number of safety features, said Young. Those features include the readily apparent iridescent number and a less apparent mylar thread. Furthermore, the engraving process actually embosses the bill, giving it a certain dimensionality. Thus, a bogus bill will be flatter and smoother.

``Most of the time we discover (a counterfeit) by the fact that it feels funny,'' he said.

This is the only bogus bill First Bank has found recently, but every year some surface -- usually at the same time as tourists and other new arrivals in Southeast, he added.

Young turned the bill over to the Secret Service detachment in Anchorage. Only the Secret Service has the authority to declare a bill counterfeit.

``If a merchant accepts a bogus bill, he can't redeem it at the bank for a new one,'' Young noted. ``He has to accept the loss.''

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