Local law enforcement warns area business owners to be on the lookout for counterfeit bills that are circulating in Audrain and neighboring communities. The Audrain County Sheriff's Office recovered a $100 bill Wednesday in Laddonia. Fake bills have also surfaced in Mexico, Vandalia, Martinsburg and Callaway County.
According to Audrain County Sheriff Stuart Miller, the Laddonia case is the second incident reported to his department this year. Both times $100 bills were passed, and Miller said one of the bills had serial numbers that matched the serial numbers found on a counterfeit bill reported in Mexico.
"The hundreds are showing up here, but I wouldn't be surprised if others start showing up," Miller said Thursday. He recommends business owners to invest in counterfeit detector pens or to turn to local banks for assistance in determining a bill's authenticity.
The Mexico Public Safety Department is also investigating a case where a counterfeit bill was passed at a local retailer. That investigation continues.
MPSD Det. Jim Day said retailers and consumers can guard against the threat of counterfeiters by becoming more familiar with United States currency.
"They should check all bills with a counterfeit detector pen or search for the hologram (for that denomination of money)," Day said.
Other things to check for in counterfeit bills include:
• Feel the texture of the bill. Many times you can identify a lower-quality fake bill instantly just by touching it. Genuine currency has slightly raised ink that is produced in the intaglio printing process.
• Compare the bill to another of the same denomination and series.
• Notice the relative flatness and lack of detail on the fake bill. Portraits in fake bills may appear dull, blurred, and flat, while in real currency, the portraits are sharp and contain very fine detailing.
• Look for colored fibers in the paper. All U.S. bills have tiny red and blue fibers embedded in the paper. Counterfeiters sometimes try to reproduce these by printing or drawing these fibers onto the paper, but close inspection reveals that on the counterfeit note you will see they are printed on, rather than being part of the paper itself.
• Examine the serial numbers. Make sure the serial numbers on a bill match, and look at them carefully. Fake bills may have serial numbers that are not evenly spaced or that are not perfectly aligned in a row. If you received multiple suspicious bills, see if the serial numbers are the same on both bills. If they are the same, then they are counterfeit notes.
• Look for security features in all denominations, except the $1 and $2. The easiest way to spot a fake $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100 bill is to look for the following security features, all of which are very difficult to fake.
Look for a security thread (a plastic strip) running from top to bottom. Beginning in 1990, an embedded (not printed) security thread was added to all bills except the $1 and $2 bills. If you hold the bill up to the light, you will see the strip and printing on it. The printing will say "USA" followed by the denomination of the bill, which is spelled out for $5, $10, and $20 bills but presented in numerals on the $50 and $100 bills. These threads are placed in different places on each denomination to prevent lower-denomination bills being bleached and reprinted as higher denominations. Compare a genuine bill of the same denomination, to make sure that the position of the thread is correct. If it is not, the bill is not genuine.
• The $5 bill has "USA FIVE" written on the thread, the $10 bill has "USA TEN" written on the thread; the $20 bill has "USA TWENTY" written on the security thread; the $50 bill has "USA 50" written on the thread; and the $100 bill has the words "USA 100" written on the security thread. Micro-printing can be found around the portrait as well as on the security threads.
• Hold the bill up to a black light. If authentic, the security thread in the bills will glow: the $5 bill glows blue, the $10 bill glows orange, the $20 bill glows green, the $50 bill glows yellow and the $100 bill glows pink.
• Hold the bill up to a light to check for a watermark. A watermark bearing the image of the person whose portrait is on the bill can be found on all $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills series 1996 and later, and on $5 bills series 1999 and later. The watermark is embedded in the paper to the right of the portrait, and it can be seen from both sides of the bill.
• Tilt the bill to examine the color-shifting ink. Color-shifting ink (ink that appears to change color when the bill is tilted) can be found on 100, 50 and 20 dollar bills series 1996 and later, and on 10 dollar bills series 1999 and later; $5 and lower bills do not yet have this feature. The color originally appeared to change from green to black, but it goes from copper to green in recent redesigns of the bills.
• Use a magnifying glass to examine micro-printing. Beginning in 1990, very tiny printing was added to certain places (which have periodically been changed since then) on $5 and higher denomination bills. The exact location of the micro-printing is not generally an issue. Rather, counterfeits will often have either no micro-printing or very blurred micro-printing. On a genuine bill, the micro-printing will be crisp and clear.
• Run your fingernail over the portrait's vest of the bill. You should feel distinctive ridges, printers cannot reproduce this.
Cases in neighboring communities
The Callaway County Sheriff's Department has released a description and surveillance footage of a suspect they believe has been passing a series of fake $100 bills in Callaway and mid-Missouri this week.
The suspect vehicle is described as a late 1990 to early 2000 black Chevrolet Impala. Store surveillance footage shows a white female in her mid to late 20s, 5'9" tall with a thin build and brown shoulder-length hair. She appears to be pregnant and has a noticeable southern accent. The bills she is seen passing all have the serial number J11199867.
The United Security Bank in Auxvasse also reported this week that seven or eight counterfeit bills, all with the same serial number J11199867 A, have been passed or attempted to pass there. Marker tests demonstrate the bills to be counterfeit.
Those who encounter questionable bills are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agencies.
Some information from http://www.secretservice.gov/money_detect.shtml