Fairmont police: Fake $20s circulated

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Police Department is advising area banks, businesses and residents to scrutinize 2013 series $20 bills.

The police department has been notified of seven confirmed counterfeit $20 notes that were passed at businesses in the city within the past 10 days.

Detective Eric Tonder says businesses need to get in the practice of really looking at denominations of $20 or greater and verifying the security features in each note.

A counterfeit detection pen is commonly used, but is easily defeated if an offender has treated the paper. Police say a better practice is to hold the note up to the light and verify that the proper watermark, security thread (“silver strip”) and color-shifting ink are all present within the note. These are the most difficult features to fake, so are often missing from counterfeit notes. All the 2013 series $20 bills passed in Fairmont recently were missing these security features.

If a suspected counterfeit note is identified, the currency holder is asked to contact local law enforcement. Businesses are advised that if the subject passing the suspect note is still at the location, they should call police immediately and not accept the note as payment. Police advise noting the subject’s physical description, vehicle description and license plate. Police offer a warning: Do not engage in a physical confrontation with the subject, and return the note if the subject demands it back.

Tips to law enforcement about information related to counterfeiting may remain anonymous.

Businesses that would like a brief presentation on detecting counterfeit money may contact Tonder at (507) 238-4481. Businesses and resident also may visit the Secret Service website www.secretservice.gov/data/KnowYourMoney.pdf to learn more about U.S. currency features.