Several counterfeit $20 bills were passed at the Dollar General Store on W. Highway 80 on New Year’s Eve, according to Deputy Sheriff Nick Bertram, who is heading up the investigation.
The three bills were passed at the store sometime between the early afternoon and evening on Monday, Bertram said. A clerk noticed the three bills as she was counting the money Monday night and noticed the difference in feel of the three counterfeit bills from the regular bills.
Bertram said the counterfeiter has not been caught and there are no suspects in the case as of yet but he is reviewing security footage at the store in hopes of identifying the perpetrator.
He is warning businesses in the county to check their money more closely in hopes of catching any more counterfeit currency.
The easiest way to spot a fake $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100 bill is to look for the following security features, all of which are very difficult to fake.
* Look for a security thread (a plastic strip) running from top to bottom. Beginning in 1990, an embedded (not printed) security thread was added to all bills except the $1 and $2 bills. If you hold the bill up to the light, you will see the strip and printing on it. The printing will say “USA” followed by the denomination of the bill, which is spelled out for $5, $10, and $20 bills but presented in numerals on the $50 and $100 bills. These threads are placed in different places on each denomination to prevent lower-denomination bills being bleached and reprinted as higher denominations. Compare a genuine bill of the same denomination, to make sure that the position of the thread is correct. If it is not, the bill is not genuine.
* The $5 bill has “USA FIVE” written on the thread; the $10 bill has “USA TEN” written on the thread; the $20 bill has “USA TWENTY” written on the security thread; the $50 bill has “USA 50” written on the thread; and the $100 bill has the words “USA 100” written on the security thread. Micro-printing can be found around the portrait as well as on the security threads.
* Hold the bill up to a black light. If authentic, the security thread in the bills will glow; the $5 bill glows blue, the $10 bill glows orange, the $20 bill glows green, the $50 bill glows yellow and the $100 bill glows pink.
* Hold the bill up to a light to check for a watermark. A watermark bearing the image of the person whose portrait is on the bill can be found on all $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills series 1996 and later, and on $5 bills series 1999 and later. The watermark is embedded in the paper to the right of the portrait, and it can be seen from both sides of the bill.
* Tilt the bill to examine the color-shifting ink. Color-shifting ink (ink that appears to change color when the bill is tilted) can be found on 100, 50 and 20 dollar bills series 1996 and later, and on 10 bills series 1999 and later; $5 and lower bills do not yet have this feature. The color originality appeared to change from green to black, but it goes from copper to green in recent redesigns of the bills.
* Use a magnifying glass to examine micro-printing. Beginning in 1990, very tiny printing was added to certain places (which have periodically been changed since then) on $5 and higher denomination bills. The exact location of the micro-printing is not generally an issue. Rather, counterfeits will often have either no micro-printing or very blurred mirco-printing. On a genuine bill, the micro-printing will be crisp and clear.
* Run your fingernail over the portrait’s vest of the bill. You should feel distinctive ridges, printers cannot produce this.
If you have any information regarding this case please call the Russell County Sheriff’s Department at 270-343-2191.