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Police report counterfeit money passed in Bellefonte

by on November 30, 2017 7:56 AM

BELLEFONTE — Multiple Bellefonte businesses recently received counterfeit bills in small denominations, according to police.

On Nov. 28, Spring Township police made a public online post saying that most bills passed were in the 10 and 20 dollar denominations, and were used to make smaller purchases or to get change, thereby using the illegal bills to obtain actual currency.

Police encouraged businesses to use a special pen to determine if a bill is authentic, regardless of denomination.

Spring Township said they and Bellefonte Borough police are cooperating in a joint investigation.

Modern currency has many security features built into each of the seven currently circulated denominations.

The $10 bill last changed in 2006, and now features subtle orange, yellow and red background colors, according to the Federal Reserve. It also contains an embedded security thread that glows orange when under UV light, and when held to light, the portrait of Alexander Hamilton should be visible from both sides. It has a color-shifting numeral 10 in the lower right corner of the note that changes when moved back and forth. The $20 bill, last updated in 2003, has many of the same features.

Office supply stores sell counterfeit detector pens to identify false currency. They will leave a dark mark on counterfeit bills but no mark on legitimate bills by using iodine-based ink that reacts to certain types of paper. However, federal authorities have said this isn’t a foolproof method of identification and some counterfeiters are sophisticated enough to produce bills that can’t be detected by counterfeiting pens.

Federal authorities encourage those who believe they were passed counterfeit currency to notify local law enforcement. If outside the U.S., people are asked to contact the Secret Service.


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