Lincolnton police investigating counterfeit currency cases

The Lincolnton Police Department is investigating cases of counterfeit currency being passed at local businesses.

Suspects are passing denominations of counterfeit currency to include fives, tens and twenties, according to police.

Police say the cases have happened from July 1 through October 1, 2015. The business include fast food restaurants, convenience stores and retail shops, according to officers.

Lincolnton Police is asking citizens and local business to help prevent future cases. The following crime prevention tips are suggested:

  1.  Look at the money you receive.  Compare a suspect note with a genuine note of the same denomination and series, paying attention to the quality of printing and paper characteristics.  Look for differences, not similarities.
  2. Play close attention to the portrait.  The genuine portrait appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background.  The counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat.  Details merge into the background, which is often too dark or mottled.
  3. Play close attention to the federal reserve and treasury seals.  On a genuine bill, the saw-tooth points of the federal reserve and treasury seals are clear, distinct, and sharp.
  4. Play close attention to the border.  The fine lines in the border of a genuine bill are clear and unbroken.  On the counterfeit bills, the lines in the outer margin and scrollwork may be blurred and indistinct.
  5. Check the serial numbers.  Serial numbers have a distinctive style and are evenly spaced.  The serial numbers are printed in the same ink color as the treasury seal.  On a counterfeit, the serial numbers may differ in color or shade of ink from the treasury seal.  The numbers may not be uniformly spaced or aligned.
  6. Examine the paper quality of the bill.  Currency paper has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout.  Often counterfeiters try to simulate these fibers by printing tiny red and blue lines on their paper.  Close inspection reveals, however, that on the counterfeit not the lines are printed on the surface, not embedded in the paper.  It is illegal to reproduce the distinctive paper used in the manufacturing of United States currency. 
  7. Look for the watermark.  The watermark is a faint image, similar to the portrait, which is part of the paper itself and is visible from both sides when held up to the light.
  8. Check for the security thread.  The security thread is also visible from both sides when held up to the light, this vertical strip of plastic is embedded in the paper and spells out the denomination in tiny print.
  9. Examine for the color-shifting ink found in currency.  The ink should be located in the lower right corner on the face of the note, indicating its denomination, changes color when the note is tilted.  For the new currency, this color shift is more dramatic.  It changes from copper to green, making it even easier for people to check their money.
  10. Have a working protocol, procedure, and policy when dealing with counterfeit bills at your business.  Make sure ALL employees are familiar with the policy and follow it. 
  11. If suspecting someone of trying to pass a counterfeit bill, teach the employee to be a good witness.  Look for age, gender, race, height, build, clothing description, and vehicle information.  Call 911 as soon as possible and alert communications of the suspect. 
  12. Use common sense.  If the bill looks odd, chances are it may be counterfeit.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected. If anyone has any information about this case or any other criminal or narcotics cases, please contact the Lincolnton Police Department at (704) 736-8900 or the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Crimestoppers at (704) 736-8909.  Calls can be made to Crimestoppers can be made anonymously and callers are eligible for up to a $1,000.00 reward if the information leads to an arrest.