Spotting fake bills

Published 6:58 pm Sunday, September 3, 2017

With the recent Troup County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post regarding prop bills found on the side of the road, and police reports of counterfeit bills being caught at public business, it is easy to think of this as a recent problem for LaGrange. In reality, the problem is not growing out of control, and there are solutions to dealing with the problem, according to LaGrange Police Department Detective Andrea Scott.

“It’s probably the same [amount of counterfeit found here] for the last few years. We tend to get a lot of counterfeit money here,” Scott said. “A lot of what is going around nowadays that is getting reported is the counterfeit motion pictures bills, and then we’re seeing genuinely more counterfeit money coming through as well.”

Prop money is becoming more commonly found, she said.

“We’re seeing a lot bills saying ‘for picture use only,’ or the kind of money you can buy online at Amazon or Wish for prop money,” she said. “We are seeing a good uprising in that.”

Prop bills can be legally bought, but not used for actual sale, she said.

“[The bills are] all denominations, usually in $10s, $20s and $100s. You can buy it online for $4 for a large bundle of it,” she said. “With the motion picture money, it’s not illegal to own it. It’s only illegal when you attempt to spend it.”

Those given money from selling goods can simply look over the change to make sure it’s genuine, she said.

“Look at it and see, because instead of saying ‘United States of America,’ it will say ‘for motion picture use only.’ Any money with foreign language writing, like Chinese or something like that stamped on it is not good money. It won’t have any of the security features, like the strip or the face in it or anything like that,” she said.

With counterfeit bills, Scott said those do not have the security features of genuine money.

“It’s just an edited copy of a bill. The [detecting] markers work, but the bills also don’t have the safety features {of genuine ones],” she said. “The U. S. Secret Service has a ‘know your money guide,’ and it teaches you all the security features for businesses. It shows you all of the security features and what to look for and those kinds of things as well.”

The local issue with counterfeit bills is it sometimes does not get reported, she said.

“There’s a lot more of it going on that we don’t get reported to because the banks don’t report it to us. So, when it shows up in peoples’ deposits, they just send it straight to the Secret Service,” she said.

Scott said recent counterfeit bills reported to the police station come from selling items online.

“We’re getting a high volume of it through meeting at the yard sales online, selling things,” she said.

A way to prevent receiving counterfeit bills is through exchanging the items at the police department, she said.

“If you need to, you can come to the police department. We have a space where you can meet,” she said. “That way if it ends up that you get counterfeit money on that transaction, or if they say they can’t meet at the police department for any reason, I wouldn’t do it.”

Scott said these counterfeit bills from online sales happen to exchanges for $500 phones and guns.

“They’re showing up with counterfeit money, throwing it at the person and leaving it with the item,” she said. “It’s always the best thing, if they can’t come to the police department, don’t do it and check your money.”

Scott said if anyone wants to check if their bills are genuine, they can come to the bank or the police department.

“If they have any questions, or concerns or think that it might not be [genuine] they can take it to the bank or the police department,” she said.