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Counterfeit US Currency Reported In Wauwatosa

Crime Alert, Crime Prevention, Public Education, Business Watch

The passing of counterfeit U.S. Currency has been reported in Wauwatosa.
Business owners and employees alike should be on the lookout for counterfeit
paper bills that are being passed as genuine.

The passed counterfeit bills have been bleached genuine $5.00 bills which have been reprinted with a larger denomination (i.e. $20.00, $50.00, $100.00).

Because these bills are printed on legitimate currency paper, counterfeit detection pens are ineffective. Businesses should not rely on the counterfeit pens alone. The current counterfeit bills use poor quality printing and lack several security features inherent to genuine paper currency:

• Color Shifting Ink: The denomination number (i.e. 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100) in the lower right hand corner should change color from green to copper when the bill is tilted. The current counterfeit bills do not have this characteristic and remain one color.

• Watermark: By holding the bill up to a light, a faint image or “watermark” of the President should be visible to the right of the main image. The portraits should be identical.

• Security Thread: By holding the bill up to a light, a thin plastic strip called a “security thread” should be visible running vertically across the bill. The security thread is printed with “USA” and the corresponding denomination (i.e. $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100).

• Print Quality: Compare the suspect bill with a known genuine bill of the same denomination. Counterfeit print color and clarity is usually sub-standard causing the bill to appear “washed out”, faded, or blurry. Counterfeit paper currency may not be centered on the paper or printed crooked.


If you determine that a bill is counterfeit, do not return it to the customer. Note the customer’s description, the description of any companions, and the license number of any involved vehicle(s). Notify the police department immediately. If you feel that it is safe, you may attempt to delay the customer until police arrive. Handle the suspect bill as little as possible to preserve evidence. Place the suspect bill in a bag by itself to protect it from contamination.

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