Counterfeit currency crime alert

This from Lt. Irvin Robinson of the Henderson Police Department:

This crime alert is about counterfeit bills that have been passed around Henderson for the last several weeks. Businesses and banks should be on the lookout for these bills. Should you encounter a counterfeit bill, please contact the Henderson Police Department at 252.438.4141.

Fake $100 bills have recently shown up at businesses in the area.

The counterfeiters are using chemicals to “wash” the printing from legitimate $5 bills and are then printing the faces and backs of $100 onto them.

If you look closely at the counterfeit $100 bills, you can see Abraham Lincoln’s face in the water mark on the right hand side of the bill when it is held up to the light. You would be able to see Benjamin Franklin’s face in the water mark of a legitimate $100. Also, you will see “USA Five” written on the strip inside the bill on the left-hand side. The color-shifting ink on the lower right of the bill will not change colors on the fake bills when the bills are twisted in the light.

Since the fake bills are printed on real money paper, the commonly used detection pens will indicate that the bill is good. Looking closely at the $100 bills is the only way to detect counterfeits at this time.

If you receive a counterfeit bill:

– Do not return it to the passer.

– Delay the passer if possible.

– Observe the passer’s description, as well as that of any companions, and the license numbers of any vehicle used.

– Telephone your local police department or the United States Secret Service. These numbers can be found on the inside front page of your local telephone directory.

– Write your initials and the date on a blank portion of the suspect note.

– Do not handle the note. Carefully place it in a protective covering, such as an envelope.

– Surrender the note or coin only to a properly identified police officer or U.S. Secret Service agent.

How to Detect Counterfeit Money

Genuine money is made by master craftsmen who use engraved plates and printing equipment designed for that purpose. Most counterfeiters use a photomechanical or “off set” method to make a printing plate from a photograph of a genuine note.

You can help guard against the threat from counterfeiters by becoming familiar with United States money.

Look at the money you receive. Compare a suspect note with a genuine note of the same denomination and series, paying attention to the quality of printing and paper characteristics. Look for differences, not similarities.

– Portrait

The genuine portrait appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the fine screen-like background. The counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat. Details merge into the background which is often too dark or mottled.

– Federal Reserve and Treasury Seals

On a genuine bill, the sawtooth points of the Federal Reserve and Treasury seals are clear, distinct, and sharp. The counterfeit seals may have uneven, blunt, or broken sawtooth points.

– Serial Numbers

Genuine serial numbers have a distinctive style and are evenly spaced. They are printed in the same ink color as the Treasury seal. On a counterfeit, the serial numbers may differ in color or shade of ink from the Treasury seal. The numbers may not be uniformly spaced or aligned.

– Border

The fine lines in the border of a genuine bill are clear and unbroken. On the counterfeit, the lines in the outer margin and scroll work may be blurred and indistinct.

– Paper

Genuine paper contains no watermarks. It has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout. Often counterfeiters try to simulate these fibers by printing tiny red and blue lines on their paper. Close inspection reveals, however, that on the counterfeit note the lines are printed on the surface, not embedded in the paper. It is illegal to reproduce the distinctive paper used in the manufacturing of United States currency.

Some people believe that a bill must be counterfeit if the ink rubs off. This is not true. Genuine currency, when rubbed on paper, can leave ink smears.

Raised Notes

Genuine paper currency is sometimes altered in an attempt to increase its face value. One common method is to glue numerals from high denomination bills to the corners of a note of lower denomination.

These bills are also considered counterfeit, and those who produce them are subject to fines up to $1,000, or imprisonment up to 5 years, or both. If you suspect you are in possession of a raised note:

– Compare the denomination numerals on each corner with the denomination written out at the bottom of the note (front and back) and through the Treasury seal.

– Compare the suspect note to a genuine note of the same denomination and series year.