Businesses in Nueces County are starting to examine cash they take in carefully after multiple reports of counterfeit money in the area.
One local business who was scammed wants to warn others.
For small business owners, counterfeit money is a nightmare. Mike VanSyckle, owner of the Atomic Omelette and Grill, located at 6313 Wooldridge, deposited his cash receipts last week, only to learn that a $50 bill that was taken was fake.
"The bank told me they had to turn in the bill to the Treasury Department and report it. In the last couple of weeks, they have been seeing more and more of the counterfeit 50's. In the past, we have seen $10 bills, $20 bills, and then $100, and now we are seeing $50's. They are back in the neighborhood," said VanSyckle.
Most people cannot tell if a bill is counterfeit. And VanSyckle says he just doesn't want anybody else to lose out on their hard earned cash.
"Because we have to protect ourselves, it is our money. Like I said, we work very hard for it, and I just want to get the word out and let everybody know to keep an eye out on these $50's. These guys are getting sophisticated," said VanSyckle.
Lt. Michael Pena, with the Corpus Christi Police department says they get more than 300counterfeit money cases a year. And with technology getting better, it also gets more difficult to spot counterfeit bills.
"The pen marker is a valuable tool but it's not going to catch all counterfeit currency. One of the things we use is a UV pen, which shines a light on the strip that is inside bill, and it will reflect a different color," said Lt. Pena.
But some small businesses generally don't have the technology to combat it.
"Some of the counterfeit money that we are seeing is motion picture use only money, or money that has Chinese writing on it. Typically counterfeit money doesn't feel the same way as legitimate currency. There are different ways you can look at the money and see if it's counterfeit, there are security features on the bills themselves," said Lt. Pena.
Anyone with information regarding counterfeit currency is asked to contact the Corpus Christi Police Department at (361) 886-2600.
Here are some simple steps to make sure you don't end up with worthless cash:
Check the bottom right corner of the bill. The dollar amount should change color in the light from copper to green.
Look closely for threads woven into the note. Every authentic bill has tiny red and blue threads woven in and out of the note.
Every note should have a security strip. Hold the bill up to the light. You should see a vertical strip telling you what denomination the bill is.
Double check the watermark. When you hold the note up to the light, you should see an exact copy of the portrait on the right side of the bill.
Compare bills side by side. If you're questioning the legitimacy of a bill, hold it up side by side with a note you believe to be authentic. If anything doesn't match up, the bill in question is likely a fake.
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