Joe P. Asher
Harlan City Police are warning that a large amount of counterfeit currency has surfaced recently in Harlan County. Counterfeit five, 10 and 20 dollar bills have been showing up more often than usual at businesses around the county.
Harlan City Police Officer John D. Noe said there are ways to detect a fake bill.
“We’ve had a rash of counterfeit bills going around,” said Noe. “One in particular is a $20 with a serial number of IG41499389B. They’ve been passed in a lot of the stores around town.”
According to Noe, although there is no definite pattern as to who may receive a counterfeit bill, there are some who seem to be more susceptible.
“They like to target new, inexperienced cashiers that are unfamiliar with handling money,” said Noe. “We have contacted the Secret Service and they advised to go to their website. There will be a blue box that says ‘know your money.’ You can click on that box and it will bring up a web page that will help you identify counterfeit money.”
Noe said there are several features in a bill that may indicate a counterfeit note.
“There’s a watermark on the right hand side. There’s special ink on the denomination on the right hand lower side. There’s several other features that cannot be reproduced,” said Noe.
Noe emphasized that there are fake bills showing up all over the county.
“Just today we’ve been made aware of $140 worth of $20 bills,” said Noe. “That was at one particular store. We’ve had reports and have responded to counterfeit money in about every store in the city of Harlan.”
Noe said the increase in counterfeit bills in Harlan began approximately one month ago with five and $10 bills. This has increased to $20 notes with some officers seeing higher denominations.
“One of the signs that somebody might pick up on is if somebody comes in and buys a 25 cents pack of gum and pays for it with a $20, that would be something to look at. They would be getting $19.75 change and they (the business) would be getting a bad bill,” said Noe.
Noe suggests checking bills in multiple ways — even if they pass the “pen” test — as counterfeiters have found a way around the most common method used for checking money.
“They’re coating a counterfeit bill with hairspray or some other type of solution that makes the pen mark show it’s a good bill,” said Noe. “Money is printed on a cloth, it’s not paper. It’s only furnished to the U.S. government. Nobody can get the cloth. The chemicals in the cloth react with the pen to make it mark a certain color. They’ve figured out they can substitute certain chemicals on a counterfeit bill to make that pen mark show that the bill is real.”
The Secret Service website, www.secretservice.gov, suggests a course of action for those that encounter a suspected counterfeit bill. Do not give the bill back to the passer. Delay the passer if possible. Observe the passer’s description and the description of any people with them. Contact the local police or the U.S. Secret Service. Write your initials and the date in the white borders of the bill. Limit handling the note by placing it in a container such as an envelope, and surrender it to a properly identified law enforcement officer or Secret Service agent.
Noe pointed out that so far everybody who has been found to be in possession of a counterfeit bill has been cooperative with authorities and likely got the bills in change without realizing they were fake.
Anybody who believes they may be in possession of counterfeit money should contact police or the U.S. Secret Service.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org