Businesses Fend Off Counterfeit Cash, With Imitation Reports As Low As $1
Fake money that looks real printable

Businesses Fend Off Counterfeit Cash, With Imitation Reports As Low As $1

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What is counterfeit detector pen?

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – As businesses fend off a wave of counterfeit cash, Anchorage law enforcement officials are urging residents to double check their bills.

Some store owners report they’re seeing an influx in fake money in recent months.

Vice president Chris Wilson of Subway of Alaska said, although his stores have previously dealt with counterfeit attempts with large denominations, imitations of smaller bills are being circulated. The clerks at his stores are double-checking money for its authenticity in denominations as low as ten dollars.

According to regional director of Holiday Station stores of Alaska Carl Smith, their 26 locations are witnessing one to two attempts to use counterfeit cash each week.

“[Counterfeiting] was up enough that patrol officers noticed that they were going to these calls on a more regular basis,” said Anchorage Police Department spokesperson Renee Oistad.

Oistad said the most recent numbers compiled by the department show 87 reports of counterfeit money fraud in August. She added, the majority of the fake money collected by APD could easily be detected by a quick lookover, noting some of this bills are printed on regular printing paper.

Counterfeit Money Notes in circulation in USA

“The money that we’re seeing now is so obviously fake that if you flip it over, you can tell that it’s not real,” said Oistad.

But for business manager of Arctic Pulltabs Peggy Guanlao, the counterfeits she’s come across are more sophisticated than expected.

“These bills that we’ve received, the only difference you can tell is the thickness of the bill and the color was a little darker than the normal color of the bills,” said Guanlao. “The bank is actually the one who spotted it when I went to do the deposit, and then they kept our bills so we’re out that money.”

Guanlao said the imitations she received were as low as one dollar bills.

“These weren’t old bills that they counterfeited, these were the new bills,” said Guanlao.

With known imitations flowing through the market, Guanlao said it’s important for every business in Anchorage to train employees on how to quickly spot counterfeits. She said she purchased a visual counterfeit detecting machine and pen for about 35 dollars.

Counterfeit Money Complaints

The U.S Secret Service is the federal agency that probes counterfeit money complaints. The agency did not return multiple calls by Tuesday evening, asking if officials are investigating the fake money circulating around Alaska.

Oistad said any reports of counterfeit fraud in Anchorage should be reported to APD.

For a more information on how to visually detect counterfeit money, here is a Secret Service guide.

How to check counterfeit money

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Detection pens are easy to use and require no training. A clerk at a cash register simply uses their counterfeit detector pen to put a small mark on the bill. If the bill is counterfeit and the paper is wood-based, the iodine in the pen solution will react with the starch and leave a dark brown or black mark. If the bill is authentic and the paper is fiber-based, there won’t be any starch and the pen will not leave a mark. (Although manufacturers of counterfeit detector pens will sometimes add a biodegradable pastel coloring to the iodine solution so that users can easily see which bills they have already screened — the pastel coloring usually fades within a day or so.)

Typically, a counterfeit detector pen costs about $5.00 and can be used to screen up to 3,000 bills. Counterfeit detector pens can be used for any thread-based paper currency.

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