Taking a closer look at your cash might be a good idea since reports of counterfeit money have surfaced recently in the Statesboro area.
While it isn’t uncommon for businesses and banks to come across fake bills on occasion, individuals can protect themselves by paying attention to the money in their wallets.
Within the past week, at least two local businesses have discovered counterfeit money during transactions with customers.
A clerk at the Dollar General on Highway 301 South called Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputies after a woman entered the store and tried to place money on a disposable debit card, according to sheriff’s reports. She handed the clerk $300, but when the clerk discovered the bills were fake, the offender left the store, abandoning the cash. The clerk photographed her as she left, handing the photos and the counterfeit bills over to deputies when they arrived, reports stated.
In another incident, a Domino’s Pizza deliveryman went to a Lanier Drive location with a $45 order, according to Statesboro police reports.
The customer paid the delivery driver, who later realized he had been handed fake cash. He returned to the location where he delivered the food, but the customer was gone, and no vehicle was at the residence, reports stated.
“There are so many ways” to tell whether a bill is counterfeit, said Bulloch County Sheriff’s Capt. Tod Hutchens. “Businesses have ink pens that turn color (if marked on a bogus bill), but sometimes there are false readings.”
Banks have machines that detect counterfeit money, he said. When counterfeit bills are discovered and reported, they are sent by law enforcement to the United States Treasury Department. The cases of counterfeit bills are compared to other cases in the area in efforts to catch the ones making the bills, he said.
“The use of counterfeit money is a very serious problem,” said Statesboro Police Chief Mike Broadhead. “It undermines the basis for our entire economy.”
Some clues as to whether the cash in your wallet is real or fake can be spotted by paying close attention, he said.
On the bottom right-and corner of a bill, the ink should be color-shifting from gold to green if the bill is moved back and forth. Skimming your fingers across the surface of a real bill, one should be able to detect a slight raised print as well, he said.
If a bill has blurry edges, text or printing, it is likely counterfeit, he said. A true piece of money will have watermarks; replicas of the president whose face is on the front of the bill; as well as a security strip that can be seen on the lower left of the money by holding the bill up to the light.
Anyone suspecting counterfeit cash should contact law enforcement, Broadhead and Hutchens said.
The Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office may be contacted at (912) 764-8888, while the Statesboro Police Department may be reached at (912) 764-9911.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.