HONOLULU (KHON2) – Counterfeit bills have been making their way across Oahu.
One person who found counterfeit money was Kimberly Augustine. She says the check-out machine at the store she was at gave her $40 cash back from her debit card in the form of two $20 bills, but both turned out to be fake.
Augustine says she first noticed they were fake when she got home and took a look at the bills. She said she saw the white lines on the top and bottom of the billing and began to realize they were counterfeit.
“You could tell it was cut off center, and then you really look at it,” said Augustine. “It was pouring down rain and all of a sudden there was water marks on the 20 dollar bill.”
She immediately reported it to the police and turned over the money.
“My first gut is not to check a 20 dollar bill or a 10 dollar bill.”
But Tina Yamaki, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii says you should double check every bill you get.
She said you can check if a bill is fake by holding it up to the light to see if there’s a watermark or thin strip within the paper because only real bills have those.
You can also look for words like “movie use only” or chinese writing. Those are dead giveaways that the bill is fake.
You can also compare how the paper feels and looks to other bills you know are real.
Yamaki said stores have taken steps to catch these counterfeits.
“We’re seeing more and more companies now using machines that can kind of see and those have really been able to detect a lot of the fake money thats going around,” said Yamaki.
But she says people should always double check their money before leaving a store, and ask for a new bill, if you feel that the one you were given might be fake. According to the U.S. Secret Service, you could be implicated if you walk out of the store and unknowingly use the counterfeit money to purchase something else.
If you do find a counterfeit bill, contact the bank or the Honolulu Police Department and fill out a police report. This will help officers trace back the fake money to the culprit.