Police see rise in counterfeit bills
The past few months, local stores and police have been battling a string of counterfeiters who have been trying to pass off fake money for merchandise.
Detective Richard Jones said the High Point Police Department sees around 12 to 15 counterfeiting cases a month.
“We will have a couple months where we will be pretty busy, but we mostly see the counterfeiting of $100 and $20 bills,” Jones said.
To prevent the continued passing of the counterfeit bills, Jones said police try to speak with the person who actually has the money first.
“Honestly, some people do get counterfeit money without knowing it and pass it off,” Jones said. “A lot of the businesses do not know until it goes to the deposit. We look at video footage and follow up on leads to try and figure out where the money came from.”
The police are still trying to determine if the recent rash of counterfeiting cases are related and who is behind it, according to Jones.
“We have a couple of leads, but nothing for a particular bill,” Jones said.
Businesses that come across counterfeit bills are instructed to let the customer know that the bill can’t be returned to the customer and that police are to be called.
“If they printed the money, they are not going to hang out and are going to run,” he said. “If they didn’t know, sometimes they will hang out. We can’t give the money back to them, but we can find out where they got it from.”
In 1996, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing added new security measures to the nation’s currency, including the most noticeable watermark and color-shifting ink.
The bureau also added fine-line printing patterns, designed to make it difficult to copy or scan bills, and enlarged their portraits so they can include more detail making the bills harder to duplicate.
Jones said even with the security measures in place, including the counterfeit pen which is used in most convenience stores, people should still use caution.
“The pen is a double-edged sword. It is good to have if you have nothing else,” he said. “You should also look for the other security features, including the watermark. If the president and watermark is different, you know you have a washed bill.”
The pens contain a chemical solution that reveals bills that are made from paper other than the paper used by the U.S. Treasury.
Producing counterfeit money is a Class H felony in the state, and offenders could face up to 10 years, have to pay a fine and face federal charges that could carry up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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If you suspect a counterfeit
If you suspect a counterfeit note or have information about counterfeiting activity report it immediately to the police.
• Do not put yourself in danger.
• Do not return the bill to the passer.
• Delay the passer with some excuse, if possible.
• Observe the passer’s description and write down their vehicle license plate number if you can.
• Contact your local police department or call your local U.S. Secret Service Office.
• Write your initials and date in the white border of the suspected note.
• Do not handle the note - place it inside a protective cover, a plastic bag or envelope.
Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury
High Point Police have seized counterfeit money from the following locations in High Point:
• June 1 - Shell Gas Station at 2312 Westchester Drive
• June 9 - Taco Bell at 2701 S. Main St.
• June 12 - Family Dollar at 3102 E. Kivett Drive
• June 13 - ABC Store at 2806 W. English Road
• June 14 - Apple Tree at 1105 E. Green Drive
• June 15 - CVS Pharmacy at 2200 Westchester Drive
• June 21 - McDonald’s at 2312 Westchester Drive
• June 22 - Raceway at 1921 S. Main St.
• July 2 - Save -A- Lot at 2850 S. Main St.
• July 3 - Horns Red Dot at 345 Ennis St.
• July 4 - Walmart at 2628 S. Main St.
• July 5 - McDonald’s at 2312 Westchester Drive