It's one of the oldest crimes in U.S. history and because of better technology it's becoming even easier to get away with. Here in East Texas, authorities ask businesses to be on the look out for counterfeit bills, mainly twenties. Last year, the Tyler Police Department saw 19 counterfeit $20 bills. So far this year, close to 70 have already been turned in to the police department. Police say it's going to take the public's help to stop it.
Checking for counterfeit bills is something the Grande West End Chevron Station in Tyler makes a priority.
"It doesn't take many 20's or 50's to hurt your day, so we mark it all, and that's our procedure," said Chevron Owner Mike Bentley.
It's a procedure, authorities say, all East Texas businesses should follow. They say these days anyone with basic computer skills can make counterfeit money because the technology is so much more advanced. That's why it's important to look at all the security measures when checking out your money.
Like the portrait. The portrait on a real dollar bill appears lifelike and stands out from the background. Counterfeits are usually flat and dark. On a real bill, the Federal Reserve and Treasury Seal is clear and sharp. Counterfeits usually have uneven, blunt or broken points. Then there is the paper. Real currency paper has tiny red and blue fibers. Counterfeits do not.
"Pay attention to the money," said Officer Don Martin, Tyler Police Department. "Don't assume with the markers that that's the safe system to check the bill. I don't think they are coming from one source. There are many people out there who are experimenting with counterfeiting, and using different technology to do so." It has become the ultimate technology for people who want to get something for nothing, which is why police say the public must be aware of what cash they may have in their pockets.
Police say if you come across a counterfeit bill, keep the bill and immediately call authorities. For more information on what you should look for on a dollar bill, click on the Know More on 7 link on our Homepage.