Phony Money in the Heartland - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Carbondale, IL

Phony Money in the Heartland

Phony Money in the Heartland
By:  Arnold Wyrick

Carbondale, IL -- Think you can tell the difference between real bills and fake ones? Well some merchants in Carbondale are wishing they would've checked their money a little closer after getting burned for hundreds of dollars in phony money.

The fake $100.00 bills began showing up at the Kohl's store in Carbondale. That's where police say a 30 year old black woman used three of them to buy some items in the store. She got away before employees caught the fake money.

Then three days later a black man used five of the phony hundred dollar bills to buy merchandise at the Wal-Mart Super Store in Carbondale. Again getting away before an employee discovered they were fake.

Now the phony money floating around the Heartland has some bank and business managers nervous. Using the counterfeit markers can't catch the fakes.

" Because it's a legitimate bill, and that is what the marker is looking for whether it's on legitimate paper or not. It won't be able to detect them as in this case the numbers have been bleached off and replaced with whatever number they want to use. So therefore you've got to go to back up measures like checking the water marks," says Michael Cripps President & CEO The First Bank and Trust Company of Murphysboro.

The easiest way to check for the water mark placed in paper money by the U.S. Treasury Department is to look to the right of the image printed in the middle of the bill. Hold the bill up a light and you can see a faint duplicate and smaller image of the one printed in the middle of the bill.

On the phony hundred's the watermark is of former President Abraham Lincoln, while the printed image is of Benjamin Franklin.

There are some other signs Shell Station Manager Dorie Fauhgn says she looks for in determining whether or not someone is trying to use fake money for a purchase.

"If the purchases are large you expect there to be a large bill involved. But if they come in with a large bill for a smaller purchase, then to me that's a red flag," Faughn said.

Still once a fake bill is discovered by a bank employee or a business employee it must be turned over to the police, who then turn the phony money over to the U.S. Secret Service to investigate where it came from.

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