Counterfeit $50, $100 Bills Being Passed


In the past two weeks, counterfeit bills have been passed undetected to local store clerks and bank tellers.

The circulating currency has been mostly in $50 and $100 bills.


Payson Police Commander Don Engler

The first incidents, at Bashas' and Giant, were reported May 9.

The faux cash spending spree has continued, with the most recent incidents reported May 19 by Sawmill Theatres, Days Inn and Beall's.

The Stockmen's Bank has also seen counterfeit bills at the local branch.

If a customer pays with a phony bill or attempts to deposit counterfeit money into his bank account, that person is only liable if the clerk catches the counterfeit during the transaction.

If it is discovered at the end of the day and the customer who passed it is unknown, the store or bank takes the loss, said Stockmen's operations manager Laurie Brunson.

"Whoever is distributing these is well aware they are counterfeit," said Payson Police Commander Don Engler.

PPD is currently investigating the incidents.

"The quality for most of the bills (collected recently) is not excellent," said Engler.

"(Counterfeit bills) can be picked out visually if merchants and others accepting cash take the time to look the bill over well."

American bills will have redesigned security and safety markings every seven to 10 years to stay ahead of counterfeiters.

Legal $50 notes were redesigned, then issued Sept. 28, 2004. Now they include shades of blue and red along with an image of a waving American flag and a metallic silver-blue star.

The $100 note is the next one slated for redesign.

"If you think you've received a counterfeit note, do not return it to the passer," according to instruction of the US Treasury Department Web site "Delay the person if possible, without causing harm to yourself. If you live in the United States, immediately notify the local police. Note the passer's physical characteristics, and write down the license plate number and description of a vehicle when possible. Safeguard the note and release it only to the proper authorities."

How to know if the money is real:

  • Look at the number 50 in the lower right corner of the note. Tilt it up and down. The color-shifting ink should have changed from copper to green.
  • Hold the note up to the light. A watermark should be visible on both sides of the note.
  • A plastic security thread embedded in the paper runs vertically on the right side of the portrait.
  • The words "USA 50" and a small flag are visible on both sides of the note.

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