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Counterfeiters try new techniques to pass bills at local businesses

Posted: Friday, August 13, 2010

Local businesses have been hit with increased counterfeiting attempts recently, and the Juneau Police Department is telling businesses to be diligent when taking cash from customers as counterfeiters are getting more creative when trying to pass larger denomination bills.

Michael Penn/Juneau Empire
Michael Penn/Juneau Empire

A recent attempt to pass funny money revealed a new technique used by counterfeiters: copying a bill that had been already marked with a counterfeit-detection pen. A clerk at the Breeze In, 2200 Trout Street, stopped one try to slip a fake $50 bill copied from an already-tested one, but the person trying to use the counterfeit bill fled before any action could be taken.

"Since August 7th we have had six cases of counterfeit come through," JPD spokeswoman Cindee Brown Mills said. "This is higher than normal for us. Officers want the public to be aware of that. Recently the Breeze In next to McDonald's, Mendenhall Valley Tesoro station and GCI have found counterfeit bills."

Other telltale signs on recently discovered fakes include a dark gray or navy coloring to the bill and unclear images, Mills said.

Several businesses are finding $10, $5, or $1 bills when closing out their cash registers at the end of shifts and there are few leads and no suspects identified, according to a JPD press release.

"I am outraged," local retail clerk Andrea Danner said. "It is a dishonest act and everyone else has to pay for it."

According to Mills, local merchants should check all bills received, no matter what denomination, and at websites run by the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Secret Service for useful information concerning counterfeiting and money.

"Here are some things to look for," Mills said. "The paper will feel different and the sizing is often incorrect when you stack it against another bill. It will be bigger or smaller. The coloring and the fine details will be washed out, and then the serial numbers will usually be the same because they are copying the same bill denomination over and over."

She also advised moneyhandlers to be wary if asked to exchange bills for another denomination without a purchase.

Contact Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.



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