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Counterfeit money being passed in Lexington County again

Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) Counterfeit bills are once again being passed in Lexington County. Several years ago some were passed to businesses in both Lexington and the Red Bank area.

According to the Lexington PD, the bills that were used in the town recently to fool cashiers included denominations from $20 to $100. They have been passed at multiple businesses across the central part of the county. The businesses that have been hit have all been ones that are fast paced and are used to customers paying with cash. This includes convenience stores, restaurants, and other businesses of that type.

These are fairly high-quality bills according to law enforcement officials. Most business use a marker that can be bought at any office supply store to test the authenticity of bills. In the case of these newer fakes, they have been passing the marker test.

The counterfeit detector pen is simple. It is used to detect fake bills made with high-quality color copiers and color printers. These are usually close enough to the real thing in looks that a busy cashier doesn’t notice. However, these types of counterfeit bills are usually printed on normal, wood-based papers.

The counterfeit detector pen contains an iodine solution that reacts with the starch in wood-based paper to create a black stain. When the pen is run across the paper that is used by the US government to make real bills, a paper with a high cotton cloth content, there is no discoloration because the starch is absent.

According to the US Secret Service, the government agency tasked with investigating counterfeiting crimes, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing uses a number of security features that make counterfeiting more difficult. Usually, only foreign governments, working to devalue and destabilize US currency, are the only ones that come anywhere close to duplicating these features.

As an example, on the $20 bill, the "20" in the lower right corner is written in color-change ink. There's also a security strip embedded in the paper to the left of Andrew Jackson that is visible if you hold the bill up to the light. Other new features include micro-writing, a watermark, and very closely spaced lines; for example the ones behind behind Jackson's face that are much harder for a counterfeiter to reproduce. Often, the easiest way to detect the fake currency is the feel of it. If you will take a moment to carefully feel money as it’s changing hands, the fakes will have a stiffer, less pliable feel than the real US Government issues paper bills with the high cotton content.

Lexington Police say they are now looking for two suspects in connection to the counterfeit money in the town. If you have any information, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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(803) 587-3144