Shoppers, merchants should keep eye out for counterfeit bills

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 4, 2000

Merchants and customers should pay more attention to thecurrency they are handling during the holiday season to preventcounterfeit money from spreading through the area, said localofficials.

“Everyone needs to examine their money closely, and merchantsare strongly encouraged to use the pens that can detectcounterfeits,” said Brookhaven Assistant Police Chief Arlustra”Pap” Henderson.

The onset of the busiest shopping season has already netted afew counterfeit bills in Brookhaven, but officials say the reportsare still “random.”

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“We’ve only had two or three reported over the last few weeks,”said Henderson. “It has not been a major problem inBrookhaven.”

Counterfeit money can quickly become a problem, though, becausethe bills can be hard to spot with the naked eye, enabling them topass through several transactions without notice. That is why it isso important for merchants to use the special marking pens that candetermine counterfeit from authentic currency, said Henderson.

“Those pens have proven to be very successful,” he added.”Wejust hope they (merchants) will take the time to use them.”

The pens, which can be purchase at office supply stores, canhelp merchants detect counterfeit money in only a matter of secondsby simply making a mark on the bill. If the mark changes color, themerchant knows the money is phoney.

Henderson suggested merchants try to subtly detain anyonepassing counterfeit money until officers can arrive on the scene.He also said it is important to obtain as much as information aspossible about the person.

“Merchants can pay attention to their clothing and get their tagnumber if they leave,” said Henderson, adding that a description ofthe vehicle is also beneficial.

Merchants should not over react, though, because the counterfeitmay have been used unintentionally. Sometimes counterfeit money canbe received as change and be spent without ever knowing it wasbogus, Henderson said.

The body language of the person can serve as a clue as towhether or not someone knows they are using counterfeit money.

“The cashier should notice the look on a person’s face whenthey’re checking the money,” said Henderson.

Anyone in Brookhaven who believes they have seen counterfeitmoney or has some in their possession is advised to call the policedepartment at 833-2424.