‘Funny money’

Published 8:27 am Thursday, August 21, 2014

CONWAY – The Northampton County Sheriff’s office has received two recent complaints of counterfeit money being passed in the Conway area. One incident involved a private sell of items at a yard sale and the other was at a local business.

According to information shared by the Sheriff’s Office, the counterfeit money passed at each location were different denominational amounts.

Northampton Sheriff Jack Smith said he was using the local media in an effort to spread the word to local citizens and businesses that these counterfeit bills are circulating.

Smith offered ways to local citizens and business owners on how to detect counterfeit money, according to information shared by the United States Secret Service:

Look at the money you receive. Compare a suspect note with a genuine note of the same denomination and series, paying attention to the quality of printing and paper characteristics. Look for differences, not similarities.

Genuine currency paper has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout. Often counterfeiters try to simulate these fibers by printing tiny red and blue lines on their paper. Close inspection reveals, however, that on the counterfeit note the lines are printed on the surface, not embedded in the paper. It is illegal to reproduce the distinctive paper used in the manufacturing of United States currency.

Genuine serial numbers have a distinctive style and are evenly spaced. The serial numbers are printed in the same ink color as the Treasury Seal. On a counterfeit, the serial numbers may differ in color or shade of ink from the Treasury seal. The numbers may not be uniformly spaced or aligned.

The fine lines in the border of a genuine bill are clear and unbroken. On the counterfeit, the lines in the outer margin and scrollwork may be blurred and indistinct.

On a genuine bill, the saw-tooth points of the Federal Reserve and Treasury seals are clear, distinct, and sharp. The counterfeit seals may have uneven, blunt, or broken saw-tooth points.

The genuine portrait appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background. The counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat. Details merge into the background which is often too dark or mottled.

Knowing how to determine counterfeit money is an important skill to have; however, it is equally as important to know what to do with it once it has been detected. It is the law to report counterfeit monies to the authorities immediately upon discovering it. In this case the proper authorities are the Secret Service or the local police/sheriff department.

The suspect bills need to be immediately set apart from the rest of one’s currency. This means placing it into an envelope or a plastic bag. The person who suspects that it is counterfeit should write the date and his or her initials along the border area of the bill.

A person should never return the money to the individual who has given it to them, and he or she should not spend any portion of it. Spending known or suspected counterfeit money is illegal.

Contact the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office at 252-534-2611 if you have any questions about counterfeit money.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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