GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Chamber of Commerce officials say local consumers and businesses should be on the lookout for potential of counterfeit bills being distributed in the area.
According to the chamber’s assistant director, Jennifer Walker, a business in Gallipolis recently reported receiving a counterfeit $100 bill during the weekend. The business wished to remain anonymous.
“Apparently, the business went to take it to the bank and that was when they discovered it was a counterfeit $100 bill,” Walker said. “I wrote a message on (social media) stating a local business had received one and I suggested that businesses invest in counterfeit markers and supplied a link for the (U.S.) Secret Service web page, where they show you visual indicators where you can tell or spot a fake in the event a marker is not available.”
Gallipolis Police Chief Clint Patterson said his department receives similar reports maybe three times a month in regard to counterfeit tender. He said most individuals passing counterfeit money are ignorant as to what they are carrying. Reports are handled on a case-by-case nature. If a person seems genuinely unaware of counterfeit money, there is no fear of charges being filed.
Walker said the business in question asked that the chamber make a statement for fear that other businesses may encounter more counterfeit bills in coming days.
According to the Secret Service website, some methods of identifying fake currency relate in distinct detail about a bill’s symbols. Borders around a dollar bill should be “clear and unbroken.” Scrollwork should not be blurred. Serial numbers on a bill should be evenly spaced and within the same line of printed text. Numbers should be the same color as the Treasury seal. The paper used in American currency has “tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout.” Counterfeits try to print these lines onto paper. Closer inspection reveals the difference.
“Everyone has handled a dollar at some point in their lives. If it feels differently than it normally would, you might have a counterfeit,” Patterson said.
Counterfeit detection markers use an iodine-based ink to try to authenticate bills but do not always prove accurate. Patterson said they are useful tools but not full-proof.
Walker advised that people who discover or suspect they have come into contact with counterfeit money should contact their local authorities as soon as possible.
For more information in how to discern a real dollar from a fake, visit www.secretservice.gov/money_detect.shtml.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.