Islanders warned about fake $100 bills being circulated

You may want to take a closer look at the next $100 bill you see. For at least the last couple of weeks, counterfeit $100 bills have been spotted in Avalon.

Tim Foley, manager of the U.S. Bank branch in Avalon, said about two weeks ago, a counterfeit $100 bill was presented at the bank.

Since then, there have been 11 or 12 occurrences of the fake money. So far, $100 bills have been the only denomination distributed.

Foley said they were good counterfeits. He said they passed the counterfeit pen test. However, according to Foley, if you look closely enough at the bills, the watermarks won’t be right.

After contacting local businesses, Foley reported the problem to the Sheriff’s Station and the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce.

According to the Federal Reserve website, “The best way to determine whether a note is genuine is to rely on the security features, such as the watermark and security thread. Counterfeit detection pens are not always accurate and may give you false results. To learn about these and other security features in genuine Federal Reserve notes, visit the U.S. Currency Education Program website.”

The website address is www.uscurrency.gov.

“It is important to know what the security features are in genuine currency, because if you end up with a counterfeit note, you will lose that money. A counterfeit note cannot be exchanged for a genuine one, and it is illegal to knowingly pass counterfeit currency,” according to the Federal Reserve.

In a recent Sheriff’s Log, Capt. John Hocking, commander of the Avalon Sheriff’s Station, warned Islander readers that there had been an increase in the passing of $100 bills.

Hocking reported that on June 17, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputies had responded to a report of someone passing a $100 and found that the individual in question posessed three fake $100s. Hocking reported that the case had been turned over to the Secret Service.

According to the Federal agency’s own website the Secret Service was created in 1865 to fight counterfeiting. Secret Service duties were later expanded to include protecting “the nation’s highest elected leaders, visiting foreign dignitaries, facilities and major events.” Originally part of the Treasury Department, the Secret Service was moved into the Homeland Security Department in 2003.

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