Tips on spotting counterfeit money as the issue remains at large in the Valley

Tips on how to spot counterfeit money as the issue remains at large in the Valley


Funny money is no joking matter as the Columbus Police Department continues to crack down on a growing issue of counterfeit bills.

Businesses in our area end up getting hit the hardest by these crimes, which is why experts say businesses need to be extra vigilant right now with the money they accept.

There was a recent victory for the Columbus Financial Crimes unit as Brandon Turner faced a judge this week for felony offenses. Now stacked against him are 22 charges surrounding a counterfeit money ring.

However investigators say there are more culprits out there, and their crimes are making a serious impact. 

"The Columbus Police Department and the secret service works very hard to make sure that our dollar doesn't lose it's value, and the more people that try to create counterfeit money, they're just lessening the value of the dollar," Sgt John Bailey said, with the Columbus Financial Crimes unit.

Officers explained that this type of crime has been rising in our area over the last three months, and businesses are taking the hardest hits.

"They'll go into a business, purchase something small, and they'll get genuine money as change, so they've printed a piece of paper, walked in there and then pocketed whatever they've bought, and they've pocketed the change, so 96, 97 dollars of genuine money " Cpl Jane Edenfield said, with the Columbus Financial Crimes unit.

"The store is going to have an adjustment built in to cover any loss that they received if not they're eventually going to go out of business,"said Bailey.

Identifying a counterfeit bill could be tricky, which is why police say you should make it a regular practice to check the money you accept. Officers say look out for any discolorations, or weird sizing and texture of a bill. lot of legitimate money will have internal security markings or water marks.

"How many people actually have 100's? Like real ones? I know I don't have very many, you know what I mean? So they don't come across them much, they don't really know what they're supposed to look like ," Edenfield said.

Police say they offer training on how to spot fake money and if you suspect someone is trying to pay with counterfeit bills call them immediately. They say if you hand the money back and it is fake, it could stay out in circulation and hurt another business.

You can contact the Financial Crimes Unit with any concerns through their facebook page.

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