Local merchants, garage sales seeing rise of funny money

Posted at 10:12 AM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 11:12:21-04

GARAGE SALES ARE FULL OF HIDDEN TREASURES, but police say beware as not all that glitters is gold. — Garage sales are full of hidden treasures, but police say beware as not all that glitters is gold.

Robert Algeo, a local resident, experienced this last weekend at his very own garage sale. His wife was the one who noticed something was not right with the bills.

"She had been trained in identifying counterfeit bills in one of her previous jobs and so she at first felt there was something different." Algeo said.

After reporting the incident to CCPD, Algeo took to Facebook to warn his community. Others shared that they have had similar experiences.

The police department's Financial Crimes Division says there have been a lot of reports of counterfeit cash recently. According to Marcus Garanzuay, a detective with the financial crimes division, most of these calls are from businesses, restaurants and convenient stores.

Police recommend you learn how to spot funny money based on the physical attributes.

“The features on genuine bills whether it's the portrait of the edges, even the treasury seal, or just about anything else, should be very clear, distinct and sharp,” said Marcus Garanzuay, a detective with the financial crimes division. “No broken, blurry or uneven as you'll very typically find on a counterfeit bill."

Garanzuay says to be on the look out for counterfeit bills that are available online.

"We're seeing a lot of bills in circulation that are movie prop money and either on one side or both sides it says clearly FOR MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY."

Detectives are also seeing an influx of bills available commercially that are used to train bank tellers in Asian countries. These bills have foreign writing on them.

Many people rely on counterfeit detection pens to catch fake money, but these pens only work on wood based paper.

"More and more criminals are bleaching bills of small denominations and printing them out to appear to be bills of larger denominations which make these counterfeit detection pens not very reliable."

Detectives say the most reliable method of spotting a counterfeit bill is by it's security features which includes security threads, water marks and color shifting ink.

Knowingly passing counterfeit bills is Forgery of a Government Instrument which is a 3rd degree felony. The Financial Crimes division in Corpus Christi works closely with the U.S. Secret Service who can have someone prosecuted federally.

For more information on security features of U.S. currency click here.