ABILENE, Texas - Counterfeit money is an age-old crime now on the rise in Abilene.
With technology constantly evolving, criminals are finding more ways to make bogus bills.
According to the Abilene police, there have been 13 reported cases just for the month of July. Police have seized 12 counterfeit bills involved in those investigations. Police say, in some cases, $1 and $5 bills are being washed and reprinted with higher denominations of $20, $50 and $100.
Police are encouraging those who handle cash who think something is suspicious during a cash transaction to follow their training and pay attention to identifying factors to help with an investigation later.
Police say most criminals target bars, fast food restaurants and convenience stores.
One of those reported cases occurred at Firehouse Bar and Grill on Butternut Street. Surveillance footage shows two men passing something outside the bar, possibly counterfeit money. The footage continues inside, where the two order and pay for the drinks with what bar workers say was a fake $50 bill.
According to business management, neighboring businesses have also dealt with fake money recently, which helped employees to recognize the fake currency.
"The night before I had somebody bring in one that I had marked for a business down the street – it was fake," said Tommye Hendrix, manager of Firehouse Bar and Grill.
Most businesses use special counterfeit detector pens to detect fake money. The ink disappears in the bill is real, but not if it is fake.
According to the secret service, as technology continues to improve, it is becoming easier and faster for criminals to produce larger quantities of fake bills.
Abilene police & U.S. Treasury offers these tips on security features in these bills.
Color Shifting Ink – Tilting the bill to different angles will cause the numbers in the lower right to shift from Copper to Green.
Security thread. Verify the presence of a thin strip running from top to bottom to the left of the portrait on newly designed bills. It is visible only when you hold the bill up to a light source. This is a magnetic strip embedded in the bill.
Water Mark – Picture of the watermark should match picture on bill.
If you suspect the bill is counterfeit you should do the following:
KEEP the bill from the passer & don't handle any more than necessary
DELAY the passer by some excuse if possible.
TELEPHONE the police or the U.S. Secret Service.
OBSERVE the passers description and that of any companion or vehicle used.
DOWNLOAD any available video/photo to a disc for police pickup.
WRITE your initials and the date on the bill, and surrender the bill only to the police or the U.S. Secret Service.
YOU are the first line of defense against counterfeiters!
If you spot of one of these counterfeit bills please contact the Abilene Police department at 673-8331.