We would like to let you know about a recent problem we have come across at the Farmers Market – COUNTERFEIT MONEY!! In the past month we have turned into our bank seven counterfeit $20 bills. On Wednesday we had Clovis Police Officer, Randy Gens, in the office and have come up with a few ideas on how to prevent this from happening in the future.
So far all of the counterfeit bills that are coming in are $20 bills. We are advising all Old Town Merchants and Farmers Market Vendors to check ALL the 20′s that you come across —even if you know the person, as they may have received the counterfeit bills as change from someone else. Counterfeit Detector Pens are available at Clovis Stationary and other office supply stores. When you mark a bill that is counterfeit the mark will turn black/brown, and if it is a real bill the mark will remain yellow. The pens are very sensitive and dry up quickly so remember to keep the lids on when not in use. This is our first line of defense against counterfeiters.
In the case where real money has been washed and reprinted, the counterfeit marker will not work. In this situation the best way to detect a counterfeit is:
- hold the bill up to the sun/light and check for the “thread” that runs through the left side of the bill
- check for the watermark of the President’s face on the right side of the bill
- check the spacing of the print area on the dollar bill – real bills will be centered exactly on the paper, not off-center
This is obviously a time consuming process, but if the person(s) passing the counterfeit bills notices that everyone is checking, it is a problem we feel will soon disappear.
If you detect a counterfeit bill at your store, or at your booth at the Farmers Market, let your client know “This seems to be a counterfeit bill and I will need to have an officer come out and verify it.” Someone who is innocent will usually stay and wait to be questioned by an officer. If anyone seems to be aggressive or if they take off running–let them! We want Old Town Clovis to be safe for you and your customers. Handle the bill as little as possible and put it in a plastic bag to retain the integrity of the fingerprints. Be a good witness–write down a good description of the customer and even try to take a cell phone photograph if possible.
If you are a shop owner, you should contact the Clovis Police Department immediately – either by calling Dispatch at (559) 324-2800, or calling 911 if you feel it’s an emergency situation. If you are a Vendor at the Farmers Market you should contact Carole or Kirsty and we will contact the Clovis Dispatch to have them come out right away.
In the future, for Farmers Markets or other events, B.O.O.T. will be checking all $20 and greater bills that we come across. If you, as a vendor, turn in a counterfeit $20 bill we will not be able to accept it–it is your responsibility to turn them into the bank yourself. Counterfeit money will not be refunded or replaced, and most likely will be sent to the Fed to be taken out of circulation.