Counterfeit $100 bills turning up around Natchez, police say

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 29, 2001

NATCHEZ – Natchez merchants need to be on the lookout for counterfeit money because fake $100 bills have been circulating the community.

&uot;Over the last month we’ve gotten an number of counterfeit $100 bills passed at area businesses,&uot; said Sgt. Jody Waldrop, of the criminal investigations division of the Natchez Police Department. &uot;They appear to be computer generated.&uot;

With improvements in technology, scanners, and printers, counterfeit bills are on the rise, Waldrop said.

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A local bank recently reported finding several in night deposits from local merchants.

&uot;We just want local businesses and banks to be aware of (it),&uot; Waldrop said.

They are reminded to check bills carefully and to contact the Natchez Police Department if they think they have come across a counterfeit bill.

Waldrop said the police cannot be certain where the bills are coming from or if they are being generated locally.

As is standard procedure, the Natchez Police Department will contact the office of the U.S. Secret Service in Jackson and will eventually hand the bills over to them as part of the investigation.

Mark Barnes, senior special agent with the Secret Service in Jackson agreed that advances in technology have made the making of counterfeit bills easier in some respects.

&uot;We make quite a few arrests off of counterfeit money,&uot; he said. &uot;It does make it a little easier for them to shift gears on us than in the past.&uot;

If someone suspects they have come across a counterfeit bill one test is to place it next to a bill known to be genuine, he said.

By comparison &uot;usually the counterfeit bill is going to stand out and look bad,&uot; Barnes said. &uot;But if you only have the counterfeit bill by itself a lot of times it will look good.&uot;

And no matter the age of a genuine bill it will have some characteristics that set it apart from a counterfeit bill, Barnes said.

For example, only genuine bills are printed on rag cotton paper that contains red and blue nylon fibers.

These can be scrapped off the paper or pulled out with tweezers.

&uot;You won’t find those fibers on counterfeit money,&uot; Barnes said.

And on $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills printed since 1996 the bottom right number is printed in shiny green ink that shifts from black to green in color if tilted.

&uot;On counterfeit money it will just show green,&uot; Barnes said. &uot;It’s not a color shifting ink.&uot;

People can also look for watermarks of the portrait on the newer bills.

All bills printed since 1990 also have a security fiber in them, which says U.S.A. and gives the denomination, Barnes said.

And since much of counterfeit currency is printed with color, wet-ink copiers, water can cause the ink to run.

&uot;If its starts to bleed it’s not genuine,&uot; Barnes said.

Two bills with the same serial number and bills not aligned properly on the front and the back are also signs of counterfeit bills.

The microprinting found on genuine bills – such as that which surrounds the portrait – is also difficult to reproduce, Barnes said.