Heber Springs area businesses were hit with a wave of counterfeit $20 bills in the past week. As of publication, McDonald’s, Walmart, First Security Bank, KFC, Burger King, Dollar General, and Valero have reported receiving the fake bills. Heber Springs Detective Keith Douglas said they are currently investigating the source of the bills. Currently, they have identified two counterfeit serial numbers associated with the reported bills. Twenty-dollar bills with serial numbers ending in 6274A and 1503D appear on the reported bills and are not valid numbers issued by the U.S. Treasury. If you have a $20 bill ending in either of these two numbers, they are counterfeit and are encouraged to contact the Heber Springs Police Department at 501-362-8291.
Although an increasing majority of people favor debit cards over carrying cash, a large portion of the public continues to use paper currency for purchases. For those who do, there are telltale ways to determine whether your cash is genuine. “An easy way to tell if a bill is fake is to test the ink,” said Douglas. “Moisten your thumb and rub the ink on the bill. If the ink smudges, it is counterfeit.” The public can also easily identify the quality of the paper used in genuine currency. Currency paper contains red and blue fibers embedded in the actual paper and the ink is slightly raised. This raised ink gives the bill a noticeable texture when feeling the paper.
The U.S. Secret Service offers the following tips on detecting counterfeit money:
The genuine portrait appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background. The counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat. Details merge into the background, which is often too dark or mottled.
Federal Reserve and Treasury Seals
On a genuine bill, the saw-tooth points of the Federal Reserve and Treasury seals are clear, distinct, and sharp. The counterfeit seals may have uneven, blunt, or broken saw-tooth points.
The fine lines in the border of a genuine bill are clear and unbroken. On the counterfeit, the lines in the outer margin and scrollwork may be blurred and indistinct.
Genuine serial numbers have a distinctive style and are evenly spaced. The serial numbers are printed in the same ink color as the Treasury Seal. On a counterfeit, the serial numbers may differ in color or shade of ink from the Treasury seal. The numbers may not be uniformly spaced or aligned.
Genuine currency paper has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout. Often counterfeiters try to simulate these fibers by printing tiny red and blue lines on their paper. Close inspection reveals, however, that on the counterfeit note the lines are printed on the surface, not embedded in the paper. It is illegal to reproduce the distinctive paper used in the manufacturing of United States currency.
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Unknowingly using a counterfeit bill isn’t a crime, but intentionally using a bill known to be a fake is a serious crime, both locally and on the federal level. If you are a business that receives counterfeit money, there is no recourse to have those bills replaced by genuine currency, so that is lost revenue. If you suspect you have counterfeit bills or suspect someone is knowingly using or printing counterfeit bills, contact the Heber Springs Police Department immediately.