BY MELANIE BUCK –
Polk County has recently seen an uptick of counterfeit bills at local businesses. Mena Police Investigator John Logan said, “We have taken in several counterfeit bills over the past month. We do have some leads and are working with the secret service. We have interviewed several people during the investigation.”
Walmart Supercenter Manager Scott Brown said counterfeit bills generally “come in waves.” Brown further explained, “When we start getting counterfeit bills we start checking and marking bills regularly. They [counterfeit money producers] have started making smaller bills and trying to get it passed. Some of the ones we’re getting are really good. Some of them have even passed the ladies in the accounting office, and they are good at what they do. We are marking the smaller bills as precautionary measure.”
Brown also said that counterfeit bill producers are changing up the way they make the fake money and using a process to bleach out a real bill, such as a one dollar or five dollar bill, and printing a larger bill on top. Because the paper is “real” the bill will mark as a real bill when hit with a counterfeit marker, however, when held up to the light, the real value can usually be seen. “A lot of times, the ones that mark right, we don’t have time to check them all. But the bank, their money counting machine finds them. So when we take our deposits, they find them and let us know. We make it right with the bank and the counterfeit bill hangs in the cash office and the police will come and collect them,” said Brown.
Logan said that the public needs to examine their bills closely. “They need to pay attention to the security details that are built into the bills. Don’t put a whole lot of faith into the counterfeit markers and if you think you have a fake bill, call the Mena PD or Sheriff’s Department and they will assist you with making a report.”
The security features that are built into real bills include a 3D security ribbon, color-shifting ink, portrait watermark, security thread, raised printing, and microprinting. The features can be searched for online, or call local law enforcement. The phone number for Mena Police Department is 479-394-1212 and the Polk County Sheriff’s Department is 479-394-2511.