By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN State Bank of Delano has recently received three counterfeit $20 bills and one counterfeit $100 bill.
Bank officials have turned over the counterfeit bills to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, which is actively investigating.
“We think most of them came in business deposits to the bank,” said Lt. Mike Even of the sheriff’s office. “They can be hard to detect.”
He added there has been some counterfeit activity in the Monticello and St. Michael areas, but said there hasn’t been much in the Delano area lately.
“It’s not real common, but it peaks every now and then and some show up,” he said.
Joe Tipka, store manager of the Delano Coborn’s, said there is a training program in place for his cashiers.
“We don’t have a huge problem with it,” Tipka said. “We might have one or two that come through, mainly being unknown, which means they’ve picked up the bills from somewhere else and don’t even know they’re counterfeit.”
Tipka said his store typically doesn’t have the counterfeit rings come through because there is not a “big box” in the area.
“Buffalo and Albertville have a lot more problems with the counterfeit and professional theft rings,” Tipka added.
Ben Anderson, an investigator with West Hennepin Public Safety, said it’s been a while since his agency has investigated any counterfeit cases.
“We don’t know if it’s something that started in our area or happened to filter through,” commented Sandy Addicks from State Bank of Delano. “We turned over what we had to the sheriff’s office.”
About a month ago, the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce also forwarded a crime alert from the Mound Police Department about counterfeit $100 bills that were made from real $5 bills.
“There have been a number of counterfeit money swindle cases involving $100 bills that have occurred in and around the Lake Minnetonka area,” according to the alert.
The suspect(s) “wash” a $5 bill and alter it to look like a $100 bill. Because real currency is being used, counterfeit money pens will not detect the forged bill.
“Have your employees check $100 bills very carefully,” according to the alert. “The fake bills can be detected if examined closely.”
“They feel funny,” Tipka added. “If you’re a cashier handling money all day long, you’ll notice it feels quite a bit different than a regular bill.”
From the US Department of the Treasury
If you suspect a counterfeit note or have information about counterfeiting activity, report it immediately to the US Secret Service, or to your local police.
For your personal safety:
• Do not put yourself in danger.
• Do not return the bill to the passer.
• Delay the passer with some excuse, if possible.
• Observe the passer’s description and their companions’ descriptions and write down their vehicle license plate numbers if you can.
• Contact your local police department.
• Write your initials and date in the white border area of the suspected counterfeit note.
• Do not handle the counterfeit note. Place it inside a protective cover, a plastic bag, or envelope to protect it until you place it in the hands of an identified Secret Service Agent.
• Surrender the note or coin only to a properly identified police officer or a Secret Service Special Agent, or mail it to your nearest US Secret Service field office.
There is no financial remuneration for the return of the counterfeit bill, but you will have pride in doing the “right thing” to help combat counterfeiting.
Also, note these features:
• Color-shifting ink: If you hold the new series bill (except the $5 note) and tilt it back and forth, observe the numeral in the lower right hand corner as its color shifts from green to black and back.
• Watermark: Hold the bill up to a light to view the watermark in an unprinted space to the right of the portrait. The watermark can be seen from both sides of the bill since it is not printed on the bill, but is imbedded in the paper.
• Security thread: Hold the bill up to a light to view the security thread. You will see a thin imbedded strip running from top to bottom on the face of a banknote. In the $10 and $50 bills, the security strip is located to the right of the portrait, and in the $5, $20, and $100 bills it is located just to the left of the portrait.
• Ultraviolet glow: If the bill is held up to an ultraviolet light, the $5 bill glows blue; the $10 bill glows orange, the $20 bill glows green, the $50 bill glows yellow, and the $100 bill glows red - if they are authentic.
• Microprinting: There is minute microprinting on the security threads: the $5 bill has “USA FIVE” written on the thread, the $10 bill has “USA TEN” written on the thread; the $20 bill has “USA TWENTY” written on the security thread; the $50 bill has “USA 50” written on the thread; and the $100 bill has the words “USA 100” written on the security thread. Microprinting can be found around the portrait, as well as on the security threads.
• Fine-line printing patterns: Very fine lines have been added behind the portrait and on the reverse side scene to make it harder to reproduce.
• Comparison: Compare the feel and texture of the paper with other bills which you know are authentic.