Monday afternoon the FNB Community Bank issued a warning to local businesses that three merchants in Vandalia had been passed counterfeit bills.
John Goldsmith, Marketing Director at the FNB Community Bank, told WGEL all businesses should be on alert for counterfeits and said a lot of it comes down to your senses. If a bill doesn’t look quite right or feel exactly normal, Goldsmith said that can be a sign of a counterfeit. He also noted that some counterfeiters alter smaller bills to look like larger ones. He gave a humorous example of holding $100 bill up to the light and seeing a hologram of Abraham Lincoln, instead of Benjamin Franklin as a giveaway that it’s a fake bill.
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Goldsmith said incidents of counterfeit money being passed increase during the holidays. He believes that is because counterfeiters want to pass their fake money as quickly as possible and to get done with the transaction as quickly as possible. He said during the holidays the business volume is higher, there is an emphasis on getting customers through the line, and cashiers are often overwhelmed and may not be as in tune to a transaction as they usually are.
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Goldsmith said the best way for businesses to protect themselves against counterfeit bills is to utilize a counterfeit detecting pen.
If you believe you have been passed a fake bill, Goldsmith said first and foremost, do not put yourself in danger. Do not return the bill to the person who tried to pass it and try to delay them if possible. Do your best to get a description of the individual, anyone with them, and if possible a description of their vehicle and license plate number. Don’t handle the counterfeit money any more than you have to and contact your local police department and/or your financial institution.