Local Washington, DC television news reported that counterfeit $20 and $100 bills have been found in circulation in Stafford County, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC. The Stafford County Sheriff’s office reports that the bogus notes have been passed at fast food restaurants and convenience stores. There are no suspects at this time.

Counterfeiters are using $5 notes, bleaching them, and printing higher denominations over the paper. The notes may appear as washed out or very well used but has the security characteristic of the original $5 bill. The image to the right shows the watermark of a counterfeit note. Apparently, that is enough to prevent these notes from being accepted.

The sheriff recommends that the notes not be returned to the person who passed it, try to delay the person’s departure, ensure you can provide a physical description of the person and any companion, and call the sheriff’s office.

With all of the measures being added to notes by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the publicity of those changes, especially here in the DC Metro area, it is unbelievable that counterfeiters can still get away with their crime. Apparently, the BEP must increase their education efforts in order to make this more effective.

One of BEP’s countermeasures against this type of counterfeiting are the new $5 bills. However, few have reported seeing these notes in circulation, even after the BEP and Federal Reserve said that only the new notes would be sent to the banks the first two weeks of release. I have yet to see one in circulation.

Image courtesy of the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office

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