Be on the lookout for counterfeit $100 bills
PHILADELPHIA - June 22, 2010 (WPVI) -- Someone is using counterfeit $100 bills in Wayne, the heart of the Main Line. They're using a counterfeiting technique that's fooling local merchants.
If you were faced with 2 $100 bills, one genuine and the other a fake, how would you tell the difference ?
In the shopping district of Wayne, Pa., Donna Martella is 1 of 4 merchants hit by the fake bills on the same day last week. The Secret Service and police are investigating two men who were spotted going store to store. At Martella's, one of them bought a $25 umbrella with a $100 bill.
Samantha Sargent checked it with a so-called counterfeit pen: " I showed my co worker and she said, 'Oh, it's fine.'"
"I've been in business 11 years," Martella said, "first time I been hit with counterfeit money."
Shop owners are learning it's tough to spot a new generation of fakes sometimes called "Bleached Bills."
"I usually count on counterfeit pen to work, but obviously it's not working because they bleached the bills."
With a bleached bill a counterfeiter starts with a genuine $5 bill, bleaches the ink, and overprints a bogus 100. Since the paper is really money, it feels right.
How do you protect yourself?
Action News asked David Beach of the Secret Service:
First hold the bill to the light. If it is legit to the right of Benjamin Franklin's portrait there is a smaller water mark of Franklin.
"That portrait in the watermark should match the portrait," Beach said. However you still need to be careful "because a bleached bill can have a watermark too."
When examining one of the bleached bills, Beach discovered, " that's Lincoln from the five."
On the left side of a real $100 bill, a vertical security strip runs to the right of the federal reserve shield. On the bogus bill, the security strip bisects the seal. Again, that's the $5 bill.
Finally, in the lower right-hand corner of a real $100 bill, there is special color-shifting ink. As you turn the bill, it appears to change from gray to bright green.
pennsylvania, counterfeiting, money, crime, john rawlins
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