Since January 2017, the Winchester Police Department has responded to 24 calls regarding counterfeit United States currency. A brief review of the cases showed that most of the counterfeit bills were passed at businesses in the area of Berryville Avenue, Valley Avenue, Millwood Avenue, and Apple Blossom Drive. Nearly half of those businesses were convenience stores, followed by fast food restaurants and mall stores.
Holiday shopping season is now in full swing, and cash may be exchanged quickly during the holiday rush. The WPD would like to remind business owners, cashiers, and all citizens of the signs of counterfeit currency. Keep in mind the phrase “Feel, Tilt, Check.” Feel the money for rough or odd textures, a tip that the money could be fake. Tilt the money to observe proper color-shifting ink that will change from copper to green. Check the money with a light to look for the security thread and watermarks. Please note that not all counterfeit currency is identifiable by the special ink pen. Additional signs include Chinese symbols, “movie prop” inscriptions, margins smaller than normal, and duplicate serial numbers.
If you believe that you have received a counterfeit bill of any denomination, please contact the Winchester Police Department. Some customers passing bills are not always aware of the fact that they are counterfeit, and may have just as easily accepted the bills as change from another store. Counterfeiters do not only make large bills – reports of counterfeit bills as low as five dollars have been reported and found right here in the city.
The United States Secret Service (USSS) offers a full presentation that can be viewed at the following link. Local USSS offices will also gladly accept reports of counterfeiting activity. In the meantime, be sure to follow these tips by the USSS for personal safety:
- Do not put yourself in danger.
- Do not return the bill to the passer.
- Delay the passer with some excuse, if possible.
- Observe the passer’s description – and their companions’ descriptions – and write down their vehicle license plate numbers if you can.
- Contact your local police department.
- Write your initials and date in the white border area of the suspected counterfeit note.
- DO NOT handle the counterfeit note. Place it inside a protective cover, a plastic bag, or an envelope to protect it until you place it in the hands of an IDENTIFIED Secret Service Agent.
- Surrender the note or coin ONLY to a properly identified police officer or a Secret Service Special Agent.