Awareness Urged as Rash of Counterfeit Bills Hit Region

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – Authorities are urging caution as a rash of counterfeit bills have turned up in the region.

This string of incidents involving counterfeit currency began on Wednesday, January 3, when an unknown female purchased a $6.88 calendar at Go Calendar store at the Cranberry Mall using a fake $100.00 bill. The woman was described as a thin, white female in her 70’s wearing a red coat or sweater.

A few days later, two light-skinned black women in their early 20’s passed numerous counterfeit $100.00 bills at businesses throughout the Venango County area. These particular counterfeit bills passed a marker test and have matching serial numbers. The $100.00 bills have the date of 1988 and a serial number of G39865587 A.

Then, on Wednesday, January 10, a known white male used several counterfeit $20.00 bills to purchase cigarettes and lottery tickets at two businesses in the Emlenton area.

Following this string of incidents, spoke to area law enforcement officers about the passing of counterfeit money and what to do to protect yourself.

Punxsutawney-based State Police Trooper Chewning, cautioned, “Remember, if you are passed a counterfeit bill, you own it. So, when accepting cash, it pays to be knowledgeable about the crime of counterfeiting.”

A representative of Pennsylvania State Police Troop C offered the following tips:

– Hold a bill up to a light and look for a holograph of the face image on the bill. Both images should match. If the $100.00 bill has been bleached, the hologram will display an image of Abraham Lincoln, who appears on the $5.00 bills, instead of Benjamin Franklin.

– Looking at the bill through a light will also reveal a thin vertical strip containing text that spells out the bill’s denomination.

– Color-shifting ink: If you hold the new series bill (except the $5.00 note) and tilt it back and forth, observe the numeral in the lower right-hand corner as its color shifts from green to black and back.

– Watermark: Hold the bill up to a light to view the watermark in an unprinted space to the right of the portrait. The watermark can be seen from both sides of the bill since it is not printed on the bill but is embedded in the paper.

– Security Thread: Hold the bill under a light to view the security thread. You will see a thin, embedded strip running from top to bottom on the face of a banknote. In the $10.00 and $50.00, the security strip is located to the right of the portrait, and in the $5.00, $20.00, and $100.00, it is located just to the left of the portrait.

– Ultraviolet Glow: If the bill is held up to an ultraviolet light, the $5.00 bill glows blue; the $10.00 bill glows orange, the $20.00 bill glows green, the $50.00 bill glows yellow, and the $100.00 bill glows red – if they are authentic.

– Microprinting: There are minute microprinting on the security threads: the $5.00 bill has “USA FIVE” written on the thread; the $10.00 bill has “USA TEN” written on the thread; the $20.00 bill has “USA TWENTY” written on the thread; the $50.00 bill has “USA 50” written on the thread; and the $100.00 bill has the words “USA 100” written on the security thread. Microprinting can be found around the portrait as well as on the security threads.

– Fine Line Printing Patterns: Very fine lines have been added behind the portrait, and on the reverse side, a scene to make it harder to reproduce.

– Comparison: Compare the feel and texture of the paper with other bills that you know are authentic.

If you suspect a bill is counterfeit, The U.S. Department of Treasury offers the following advice:

– 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 their companions’ descriptions – and write down their vehicle license plate numbers if possible.

– Contact your local police department, or call your local U.S. Secret Service Office for further instructions.

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