Businesses staying alert as counterfeit bills pop up in area

·2 min read

Aug. 16—Law enforcement is urging residents and businesses to be vigilant as there has been an increase in counterfeit bills in the area.

Fraudulent bills have been turned in to the police station on two occasions this month, and customers reportedly also have been attempting to use these bills at local stores.

Police said the majority of the counterfeit money is being used at local gas stations.

Dara Athwal, a cashier at the City Star on Edmond Street, said he had the same customer try to use counterfeit money twice to make a purchase earlier this month.

"A couple of weeks ago, we had a guy walk in and try to buy a bunch of snacks with fake dollar bills," he said. "We come across these kinds of situations so often that we can instantly tell if someone is giving us fake money. We have a safe that money is deposited into and it will immediately signal if the money is not recognizable."

A clerk at the City Star on Frederick Avenue said a customer came in and attempted to use a fake $50 bill on Monday. The cashier, who declined to give her name, said this is a regular occurrence at this time of year through the holidays.

Last Wednesday, a woman brought three $20 bills of counterfeit money to the police.

Mike Hess of the Buchanan County Sheriff's Office said the majority of the fraudulent bills being turned in are "motion picture" money that people are trying to use as real currency.

"Lately it's been very obvious when people are trying to use fraudulent money," he said. "There isn't much effort being put into it. When you make copies of dollar bills, it doesn't match the size of real currency, so that's one way we know."

Hess said they haven't targeted where the copy money is coming from, but officers are working to pinpoint it.

"We still haven't found the source of where the money is coming from," Hess said. "On the few occasions we had counterfeit bills reported, it's been turned into us without information of where it came from. All of these are open counterfeit investigations."