Police warn of increase in counterfeit money this holiday season

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Updated: 12/04/2013 6:39 pm
(Reno, NV--KRNV)  It is the season to spend money and if you use cash, Reno police have a warning; there is an increase in counterfeit money being circulated in northern Nevada. 

Sergeant Roya Mason said, "We are seeing counterfeit $50 and $100 dollar bills.  The big trend this season are those higher bills and those are the ones were concerned with because they are very high quality and very hard to detect." She added, "We want businesses to be aware of what to look for so they don't take it in and suffer the loss."

Unfortunately, if you accept a fake bill, Mason said, "That bill is collected and seized as evidence."  So, you lose out on that money.  

This is a subject that is always on the radar at Heritage Bank of Nevada, but it is particularly so this time of year.  Steve Carrick, Senior Vice President of Heritage Bank of Nevada said, "It is the season.  We typically see an increase in counterfeiting during this season.  I'd like to say 'crooks have Christmas too.'"

Whether you are a busy clerk at the cash register or a customer getting change, there are some tips that can help you avoid falling victim to counterfeit money.  First, notice the "look and feel" of money you are handed.  Mason said, "If it has too much of a paper-like feel and you can easily crunch it, that should be the first sign."
The bills themselves have visible signs like striping and color shifting ink.  Mason said, "So when you hold that bill at a 45-degree angle and you look at it, that ink should shift from a green color to maybe a black or gold."  

Heritage Bank teller Mayra Bennett has her own trick; the ink is raised on new bills.  She said, "If you run your fingernail through either the hair or the denomination, you will feel it on your fingernail when you scratch on it."  She notes this won't work if the bill has been washed in the laundry.  Bank officials also warn that counterfeit marking pins aren't completely foolproof either because crooks can use a real bill and change number on the bill to a higher denomination.  The best advice is to be aware of this potential and ask for a different bill if the money you are handed doesn't look or feel right.  

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