Police warn of counterfeit bills 02-04-05

PHONE: 961-2350
FEBRUARY 4, 2005


Big Island police are alerting businesses and the general public that a rash of counterfeit currency is being passed around Hawaii County.

Counterfeit $20, $10 and $5 bills have been discovered at several establishments on the east side of the island.

Police are reminding people to look for the following features to guard against counterfeit bills:

  • Color-Shifting Ink: Tilt the front of the bill back and forth to see the color on the numeral on the lower right corner change from a distinct green to black and back again. Remember, the new $5 note does not have color-shifting ink.
  • Watermark: Hold the bill up to a light source to see the watermark in the blank space to the right of the portrait. Because the watermark is in the paper, not printed on it, the watermark can also be seen from the reverse side.
  • Security Thread: Verify the presence of a thin strip running from top to bottom. It is a strip of plastic actually embedded in, not printed on, the paper. The thread is visible only when you hold the bill up to a light source and glows a specific color under ultraviolet light.
  • Comparison: Check the note against currency you know to be authentic and look for differences in the features above as well as in the texture of the paper.

If you suspect a note is counterfeit:

  • Observe the passer’s description, as well as that of any his or her companions and the license number of any vehicles used.
  • Limit the handling of the note.
  • Carefully place it in a protective covering, such as an envelope.
  • Call the police non-emergency number at 935-3311 and inform them of your discovery.

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