The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

August 20, 2013

City staff receives counterfeit identification training

City employees received training to help identify counterfeit money last week. The training was in effort to deter the number of counterfeit bills potentially received by city employees who collect money for things such as utilities.

"It's easy to take in counterfeit money and not realize it," said Mike Healy, Chief of Police. "People get in a hurry and they don't always have time to check each bill that comes through. Unfortunately, that's usually when people try to pass the counterfeit money."

While $20's and $100's tend to be the most popular bills to fake, bills of lower denomination are not exempt.

"Sometimes we'll go several months and not have any of the bills come in and other times, we'll get a bunch of fake bills turned in close together. It just comes and goes," said Healy.

The training which was done under the direction of Detective Trent McWilliams and a member of the FBI, discussed the various check points that those handling money should look at before accepting paper currency.

"The whole training was really informative," said Maria Sergesketter, an employee of the Clerk-Treasurer's Office. "I just never realized how easy it would be to counterfeit money but showing us the checkpoints and the differences between the money really helped."

Three of the main things to look for when inspecting money are watermarks, color shifting ink and security threads.

One of the first things that should be checked on paper money is the watermark. Watermarks should be visible from both sides when money is held up to the light.

"They showed us the differences in the watermarks of a real bill and a fake. After looking at them, it was easier to see the difference between the two especially when looking at the portrait and some of the other details. The faces just aren't as distinct on counterfeit money," said Karen Brown, Clerk-Treasurer. "The difference are sometimes so subtle."

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