Quick-Thinking Cashier Spots Counterfeit Currency

By: Sabrina Wu
By: Sabrina Wu

Jennifer Aellig, a cashier at the Stevens Point McDonald's on Division Street says a man came through the drive-through late Thursday night, asking for a large order of chicken McNuggets.

Aellig said he handed her a crumpled $100 bill. The 18-year-old student says she noticed something was wrong right away.

"It was really small," said Aellig, "and I guess it was supposed to look like one of the old $100 bills, 'cuz it definitely wasn't one of the new ones. It was more blue-green than the green of the dollar bill."

"That night was as very tough night, in that the city of Stevens Point had run out of water," Manager Dirk DeFord remembers, shaking his head. "With this happening at closing time, and Jennifer able to handle the situation like she did, shows an outstanding job by her."

Phony money has also turned up at two nightclubs in the city. Police say they are looking for two men at this point.

The first is described as a thin man in his early 20s, between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet and 11 inches with short, light brown hair. The other is described as having a stocky build, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with dark brown hair, a mustache and glasses. He is in his late 20s to early 30s.

Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the individuals involved, should call the Stevens Point police at (715) 346-1500.

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Counterfeit Bill Spotting Tips

  • Check a suspected counterfeit bill against a bill you know to be real.

  • The portrait on each bill has been enlarged and moved slightly off center to the left to allow for a watermark.

  • There are red and blue fibers embedded in the paper that can be seen on either side of the bill.

  • The surface of the bill has an embossed, or raised, feel.

  • On old and new bills, the paper has the same distinctive feel. Genuine currency is strong and pliable with a unique texture.

  • All redesigned bills, except the $5, have a color-shifting ink feature. The number in the lower right corner of the front of the bill looks green when viewed straight on, but black when viewed at an angle.

  • A watermark of the portrait image is visible on both sides in the same area when held up to bright light. The watermark will be located on the right edge on the front of the bill and on the left side on the back of the bill. Watermarks are made during the paper-making process and are hard to replicate.

  • The security thread appears in a different location on each denomination to help confirm the note’s value. For example, on the $10 bill, the thread is to the right of the portrait and glows orange when viewed under ultraviolet light. You will notice the words “USA TEN” and a flag can be seen from both sides when viewed against light.

  • The redesigned bills feature microprinted words in two areas on the front of the bill. Different words appear in different locations on each denomination. For example, on the $10 bill, the word “TEN” is inside the numeral on the lower left corner on the note’s front. “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is repeated just above Hamilton’s name under the portrait.

  • The redesigned bills have fine line printing patterns that are difficult to replicate. The fine lines are printed behind the portrait on the front and behind the building on the back. The lines are very clean and parallel to each other. If they are copies, the lines become splotchy or create new patterns.

If Someone Passes You a Bill You Suspect Is Counterfeit

The U.S. Secret Service Recommends:

  • Avoid returning the bad bill to the passer.
  • Delay the passer, if possible, without risking harm to yourself or others.
  • Record the passer’s appearance, as well as those of any companions.
  • If possible, write down the license plate number and make of their vehicle.
  • Contact your local police department of the U.S. Secret Service.
  • Write your initials and date on an unprinted portions of the bill. Place it in a clean envelope.
  • Give the note only to a properly identified police officer or a representative of the U.S. Secret Service.

Source: http://www.bep.treas.gov/cd042500/fun_index.html (The Bureau of Engraving and Printing)

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