The Erie County Sheriff’s office issued a statement that counterfeit bills are currently being used in Erie County. They’re asking residents to be alert and for local businesses to make sure their employees are educated on how to spot fake currency.

Here are some tips from the U.S. Treasury Department on how to spot fake bills:

  • Color-shifting ink: If you hold the new series bill and tilt it back and forth, please 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 light to view the watermark in an unprinted space to the right of the portrait.
  • Security Thread: Hold the bill a light to view the security thread. You will see a thin embedded strip running from top to bottom on the face of a banknote. In the $10 and $50 the security strip is located to the right of the portrait, and in the $5, $20 and $100, it is located just to the left of the portrait.
  • Ultraviolet Glow: If exposed 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 are minute microprintings on the security threads.  The microprinting can be found around the portrait as well as on the security threads.

The Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Treasury advises people do the following if they think they have found a counterfeit bill:

  • 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 or call your local Secret Service office.
  • Write your initials and date in the white border area of the suspected counterfeit note.
  • Do not handle the counterfeit note. Place it in a protective cover, a plastic bag, or envelope to protect it until you place it in the hands of a law enforcement agent or Secret Service Special Agent.


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