Rabun County Sheriff’s Office warns of fake currency

(photo by RCSO)

The Rabun County Sheriff’s Office is warning about fake $100 bills being passed around the county and, possibly, the region.

The sheriff’s office posted an image of the fake currency on its Facebook page. Chief Deputy Scott Cheek tells Now Habersham the bills first surfaced this week, and some business owners alerted authorities.

“The pictures posted on our page are exactly how the bills looked,” he tells Now Habersham. Two of the bills have the word ‘copy’ stamped in the lower lefthand corner on the front of the bill. They also have identical serial numbers. “The third bill in the picture has a different paper quality and did not pass the pen test from one of the local banks,” Cheek adds.

He says it appears the fake currency is being passed throughout Northeast Georgia and Western North Carolina.

“We would recommend people inspect their bills before accepting them from individuals or businesses,” Chief Deputy Cheek says. “They should also do their own research for educational purposes.”

How to spot a fake

The U.S. Currency Education Program says there are ways to check to see if a bill is real.

First, feel the paper. Move your finger across the note. It should feel slightly rough to the touch due to the intaglio printing process and the unique composition of the paper. If something feels off, check the note’s security features.

(Image source: U.S. Currency Education Program)

Color-shifting ink: Tilt the note to see the ink in the numbers on the lower right corner change color from copper to green on denominations of $10 and higher. The Bell in the Inkwell on the $100 note also changes from copper to green.

3-D Security Ribbon: The $100 note features a blue 3-D Security Ribbon with images of bells and 100s. When you tilt the note back and forth, the bells and 100s in the ribbon move from side to side. When you tilt the note from side to side, the bells and 100s move up and down. The 3-D Security Ribbon is woven into the paper, not printed on it.

Security thread: Hold the note to light to see a security thread embedded vertically on denominations $5 and higher. The thread is embedded in a different position for each denomination and glows a different color when held to ultraviolet (UV) light. The security thread is visible from both sides of the note.

Watermark: Hold the note to light to see a faint image to the right of the portrait on denominations $5 and higher. Watermarks are visible from both sides of the note. On denominations $10 and higher, the watermark matches the portrait. The $5 note has two watermarks, both of the numeral 5.

Microprinting: Microprinting is featured in several locations on denominations $5 and higher and can aid in authentication. These small printed words, which may require magnification to see, should be clear. Microprinting corresponds to the denomination or contains phrases such as “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “USA,” or “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”

Red and blue fibers: The paper in genuine U.S. currency has small red and blue security fibers embedded throughout.

Of course, authentic currency will never have the word ‘copy’ printed on it.

Counterfeit pens such as the one the bank in Rabun County used can help identify fake currency. You may purchase the pens online or at most office supply stores.

If you suspect you have or are being passed a counterfeit bill, report it to your local authorities.

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