03/20/08 — Counterfeit money circulating in Wayne

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Counterfeit money circulating in Wayne

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on March 20, 2008 1:46 PM

Goldsboro police say a recent rash of counterfeit bill reports is more than mere coincidence, and suspect someone is peddling fake cash locally.

Sgt. Chad Calloway said that people in the field have been taking in reports of someone either selling or distributing counterfeit $20 bills.

"We've had it through the rumor mill -- people who are stopping officers and referencing it (counterfeit currency)," Calloway said.

Goldsboro's police reports have been littered with accounts of tellers and others noticing counterfeit bills.

Calloway said he had three reports just this week. Dozens of other reports have been filed over the past month or so.

The U.S. Secret Service, which handles complaints of counterfeit U.S. cash, has a few tips for identifying phony bills.

Here a few tips from a Secret Service guide called "Know your money":

*The portrait -- A genuine one stands out from the background, whereas imitations are "lifeless and flat." Details of the portrait "merge into the background which is often too dark or mottled."

*The seals -- Look at the "saw-tooth points" of Federal Reserve and Treasury Department's green, circular seals. Seals with blunted and uneven or otherwise distorted saw-tooth points may be counterfeit.

*The border -- Good bills have clear, unbroken lines. Look for bad or blurred scrollwork or lines in the outer margin in counterfeit cash.

*The serial numbers -- Serial numbers on good bills will be spaced evenly and are printed in the same color ink as Treasury Department seals.

*Paper -- In real cash, you'll find "tiny red and blue fibers" interspersed throughout the paper. Counterfeiters may try to print the lines on the paper, but a close look will reveal those lines are not woven into the fibers of the bill. It's worth noting that it's a crime to make facsimiles of the "distinctive paper" used to make U.S. paper denominations.

Calloway and Goldsboro police provided a few tips as well.

*Some bills have color-shift ink, which Calloway said changes from green to black when tilted at 45 degrees.

*Get counterfeit detection pens for your cashiers from local office supply stores.

*If you suspect someone has counterfeit money, remember a description of the suspect, vehicles used, the time and other circumstances and the suspect's direction of travel. Call the police or Crime Stoppers with details and turn over any suspected counterfeit currency.