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BY ALLISON WATERS-MERRITTPalatka Daily Newsamerritt@palatkadailynews.com
Law enforcement officers are seeing an influx of cash at area businesses, but some of the Benjamins, Grants and Jacksons are not legal currency.
Palatka Police Department Capt. Matt Newcomb said officers have handled about eight counterfeit money cases in the last six weeks.
“We want owners to be aware so they can take steps to protect their businesses,” Newcomb said. Newcomb said for small shops and restaurants, $400 in fake money could be devastating.“That money could help pay rent or electric,” Newcomb said. Newcomb said officers have collected fake currency in $100, $50 and $20 bills.
“Right now, we see it more common in $100s,” Newcomb said. Some of the bills have Chinese writing, Newcomb said, but other bills have “For Motion Picture Use” stamped on them.
A $20 bill turned in for evidence has a distorted picture of Andrew Jackson. “When accepting cash, look closely at the money,” Newcomb said. Newcomb said the bogus money is often used in locations where transactions happen quickly — drive-thru restaurants or convenience stores. “The person pays with a larger bill and not only gets a free meal, but also real money back as change,” Newcomb said.
Newcomb said not-for-profits should also pay attention when selling products to raise money. “Not-for-profits are often trusting of those who are purchasing a product to help the organization, but its very easyfor someone to purchase an item like cookies or discount cards with a $20 and get change back,” Newcomb said. Newcomb suggested those handling money for either business, charity or not-for-profit purchase a pen which changes color when exposed to counterfeit money. “Examine every bill and mark ever y bill with the pen,” Newcomb said.
Newcomb said if a bill doesn’t feel normal, don’t accept it as payment. Anyone with additional questions on identifying counterfeit money can contact the Palatka Police Department at 329-0115.