N4T Investigators: Dirty money - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Dirty money

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Tucson - One of these bills is counterfeit. Can you tell which one?  Back to this later.

" I'm like going, 'Well, there goes 20 bucks," says Glen Hawkins. He co-owns Northgate Laundromat and was taken to the cleaners last week. "It's pretty sad," Hawkins told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.

When Hawkins' fiance went to the Bank of America at Grant & Craycroft last Wednesday to deposit the day's receipts, the counterfeit detector machine rejected a 20 dollar bill. A teller said it was the third counterfeit bill she'd seen that day. Hawkins said, "The business owner loses the money, it's not the bank and it's not the federal government. They're scam artists and it's just hard. I don't know if they really understand that they're taking money out of the city."

Glen Dennis, the Resident Agent in Charge of the Tucson Secret Service office, said, "We average probably in the three to four thousand dollars a week amount that we receive here in the office."

Dennis says if you receive a counterfeit bill, "If they know it's counterfeit, we ask them to turn it in either to their bank, the local police department or to us."

Now, about those two one hundred dollar bills we showed you at the top. The one on the left is real. Here are some ways you can tell. Hold the real bill up to the light.  A watermark image of the president's face will be visible. A counterfeit bill has no watermark.  Rub your fingers across the president's jacket. On a real bill, it will feel rough because it's a raised pattern. A counterfeit bill has a smooth texture because there is not raised printing. Also, in a real bill, the Liberty bells in the blue security strip appear to turn left and right when you move the bill up and down. And the Liberty Bell in the inkwell to the right of the blue strip turns from gold to green when you move it. 

Laundromat co-owner Hawkins says, "It's going around and we need to be a little more proactive about it." After he lost the $20, he want to an office supply store and for $14 bought a counterfeit detector pen. You run the pen across the bill and should see a yellow line on a real bill. If it comes up darker, it's suspect. Contact the Secret Service.

We asked Hawkins, "If you could talk to the person who gave you the counterfeit bill, what would you say?" "Tell him to go get a real job," Hawkins said. "Start supporting the community,instead of taking away from it."

Secret Service Agent Dennis says those counterfeit detector pens are not fail-proof and don't work as well as those other ways of checking that we just described.  If you want to know more about how to tell the difference between real and counterfeit bills, here are a couple couple of web sites with detailed information: https://www.secretservice.gov/  and http://moneyfactory.com/

If you have a story you would like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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