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Summit County sees increase in counterfeit cash

Tipping at restaurants and coffee shops, cash tips, checkout
Lynne Sladky/AP
Tipping at restaurants and coffee shops, cash tips, checkout

The Summit County Sheriff’s Department is warning residents after an increase in reports of counterfeit cash.

Deputies say local gas stations and grocery stores have reported an uptick in counterfeit bills, especially overnight and early in the morning. Summit County Sheriff Chief Deputy Kacey Bates said businesses often don’t spot the fakes until it’s too late.

“Sometimes they're not even receiving the information until they go to the bank, and the bank is telling them that it's a counterfeit bill, or possibly when they're putting it through their money counter,” she said.

Bates said it’s a challenge to catch these cash criminals. Deputies need information like license plates and suspect descriptions, details hard to get when businesses don’t discover the bad bills until they’re at the bank.

Bates warned businesses to watch for a few key behaviors.

“If they're buying something really small, and then they're paying with a large bill, that is something that we would tell them to make sure that it's not a counterfeit bill,” she said.

Also, fake bills won’t have watermarks when held up to light. Watch for words like “copy” and “for motion picture use only.” Another sure sign, funny money is often blurry near borders and fine lines.

Real bills are textured with raised ink. Not pure paper, they’re a mixture of 75% cotton and 25% linen with small blue and red fibers.

Anyone concerned they may have counterfeit bills can call deputies at (435) 615-3600.