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Increase of counterfeit bills over past 3 months

Posted at 6:46 PM, May 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-30 18:56:29-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. – Police said there has been an increase of counterfeit bills, namely $50 and $20 denominations being passed around Colonial Heights

"For the last three months we've had an increase" said Sergeant Renee Walters, with the Colonial Heights Police.

Krystal Norris went through the drive thru over the weekend. She received change and later found out the cash was fake.

Fake bills have been on the rise over the past few months.

"It was dark," she said. "So we just took the money and I just put it in my pocket.”

Norris said that less than 30 minutes later, she was inside a convenience store when she realized what had happened.

"I was shocked,” she said.

Norris pulled out four $20 bills from her pocket.

Hold the bill up to look for the hologram printed by the US Treasury

"You can instantly see three real twenties and one fake $20, I mean it's white on the back,” she said.

Norris considered herself lucky because the fast food restaurant exchanged the fake $20 for a real one.

Police said the bills they're seeing are being reported from businesses within the city.

A special pen commonly used by businesses to check to make sure a bill is legitimate is now not reliable and police said they're asking businesses to not "rely on the pen to determine if they are true bills or not.”

“The pen is found to not be accurate, it's not giving accurate information, whether the bills are counterfeit or true bills,” said Colonial Heights Police Captain Dann Ferguson.

Ferguson said there are two quick ways cashiers and customers can check currency and both involve holding the bill up to a light.

"Just to the right of the portrait there will be a hologram that you can hold to the light source and the hologram should match the portrait that's on the bill itself,” he said.

Captain Ferguson said the second course of action is to "look at the security strip located on the left side of the bill, and hold that up to a light source and you'll see the denomination printed out.”

Colonial Heights Police ask that anyone who received a fake bill contact them, or who have any information about counterfeiters passing bogus bills, to call Crime Solvers at 748-0660.