You should always check for the proper security features on currency.

Counterfeit currency causes problems for local businesses

You should always check for the proper security features on currency.
You should always check for the proper security features on currency.

A number of retailers in Johnson County have begun to refuse any currency larger than a $20 bill due to a recent influx of counterfeit currency discovered in Johnson County.

According to Vienna Police Chief Jim Miller, the Dollar General Store in Vienna recently reported a counterfeit $100 bill passed off to them and Casey’s General Store in Vienna also reported the discovery of several counterfeit denominations.

The counterfeit bills reported discovered in Johnson County include $20s, 50s and 100s whereas in past cases the bill most commonly discovered to be fake were only $100 bills.

“Right now, counterfeit $20s are popular in this area,” Chief Miller said.

Wendy Jarvis, manager of Sam’s IGA in Vienna, told the Times Monday morning that her store revealed three fake bills nearly passed to them at the checkout in just the past week. Two, twenty-dollar bills were discovered when the customers submitted the cash at the checkout lanes. The fake currency was detected during the transactions and rejected by store employees.  However, a counterfeit $100 denomination was discovered after the customer had already left the store.

Sam’s IGA said they would no longer accept $50 or $100 bills, posting a sign on the store’s front door and at other locations within the store, which read:

“October 21, 2013

Dear Shoppers,

Sam’s IGA is no longer able to accept bills in the amount of $50 or $100.  We apologize for any inconvenience, but there are an unprecedented amount of counterfeit bills in circulation at this time, many even in our small town of Vienna.

For your own protection, please examine any bills you receive, from either persons or your bank.

There are many security features on U.S. currency you can examine as follows:  Each bill, $5 and up, has a security strip inside the bill saying, for example, “USA FIVE….USA FIVE….” or “USA FIFTY…. USA FIFTY….” 

Check not only for the strip, but also that it says the correct denomination.  You must check closely to see that the face value of the bill is the same as what the words on the strip indicate.  

Experienced counterfeiters are bleaching out real bills (so that the security pens, people use to show if it is real, will still say it is the correct paper). Then they reprint the money for a higher amount.

We have seen $10s and $100s in Vienna.

Another item to check is that every bill will have a watermark with the bill’s featured president.  Look to see that the president, such as Jefferson, is pictured also in the faint watermark at the bottom right corner of the bill. The pictures should match. Holding the bill up to a bright light best sees this feature.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may pose.  Unfortunately, we must ensure that we are protecting our interest by not accepting large bills any longer.  Please plan accordingly.

Thank you for your patronage.

Sincerely, Sam’s IGA”

According to the authorities, counterfeiters do not discriminate and individuals who discover they are in possession of counterfeit currency are obligated to report it without much possibility of recovering their lost assets.

Today’s counterfeiting techniques make it very hard to quickly reveal the fake money.  Counterfeit twenties, fifties and one hundreds are generally produced from five-dollar notes that were originally generated by the United States Bureau of Engraving, with the bureau’s security mechanisms in place. The U.S. one-dollar denomination does not include the same security features.

Special chemically treated and battery-operated pens are common counterfeit-detecting devices. The pens confirm the type of paper the bill is printed on, but does little to identify the note’s original denomination, thus making them an inexpensive and convenient way to quickly spot fakes.  Other devices are also available that include ultraviolet and fluorescent lights that help verify the original denomination. These detectors, as well as the pens, can be purchased at The Vienna Times or at most office supply retailers.

Once a counterfeit note has entered the into the retailers’ cash box, tracking its origin of production or source becomes increasingly difficult, authorities said.


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