Instances of counterfeit money being used in Lebanon have been on the rise over the past few months.
According to Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen, there have been 17 cases of counterfeit money reported since November.
“We’ve had several cases reported in the past four months, all the way up until this week,” Bowen said. “There have also been a variety of the different denominations of bills found.”
Bowen said a case reported last week featured $20 bills, but there have also been instances with $5 and $100 bills, too. He said $20 and $100 bills are usually the denominations used in counterfeiting.
“Basically, what they had done was they used $20 bills and in some way washed them out and made them lighter and put ‘100’ over the tops,” Bowen said.
Bowen said several additional complaints in February also revolved around the “washed $20 bills.”
There are several different ways business owners can help cut down on counterfeit money issues and prevent getting stuck with the fake loot, Bowen said.
“One big thing is just encouraging local businesses to be patient and take the time to give the bills a good look,” Bowen said.
According to Bowen, holding up the bills to the light and using a counterfeit-money pen are two quick and simple ways to detect counterfeit money.
“We just want to put it out there that this is happening and let businesses know to just try and take their time and use the pens or hold the bills up to the light to verify the marks,” Bowen said. “A lot of time you can notice by the washed look or the feel.”
Bowen said many of the reported cases have come from West Main Street and businesses in the south end of the city. He said business owners usually don’t catch the fake money on the spot, but rather usually discover counterfeit bills when they’re taken to be deposited or when the owners try to make change.
Police are still investigating all of the local counterfeit money cases reported thus far.
“It’s something we’re continuing to work on, investigate and follow up on, and we notify and report all the cases to the Secret Service,” Bowen said. “It’s a felony depending on the situation.”
Bowen said usually counterfeiting comes and goes in surges.
“It seems like it goes in spurts, so now is a time we’re starting to see more and more of it,” Bowen said. “If business owners just take some time to really look, I think we can stop a lot of this.”