Surge of counterfeit $100 bills in Brownfield

Surge of counterfeit $100 bills in Brownfield

Brownfield Police are cracking down on currency since fake $100 bills have made their way into the community.

"We have probably recovered about 10 of these bills over the past few months," said Sergeant Jeff Rolan.

These fake bills, frequently used in Brownfield convenience stores, have several differences compared to a real bill – such as the expression on Benjamin Franklin's face, or the bold letters that read "For Motion Picture Use Only" in the top right-hand corner.

Right underneath that, it even reads in small print that "This note is not legal. It is to be used for motion pictures."

Even so, Rolan said they look real at first glance.

"The person who passes the bill will just hand them the bill to pay for merchandise," he said, "and you know, they really don't pay attention to it."

Rolan believe the bills are widespread, with some used even in Lubbock.

"It's everywhere around here," he said.

In fact in January, a Lubbock banker posted a fake $20 bill on Facebook, saying a customer brought it in to ask if it was real.

It too had "Motion Picture Use Only" stamped along the back.

"Most of the time they claim that they don't know that it's fake," Rolan said.

Oscar Rosales, a resident agent in charge at the U.S. Secret Service's Lubbock District, said they have seen a high amount of "motion picture money" in West Texas and are investigating this trend.

He said it only takes a few seconds to find out if a bill is fake, if you remember a few tips.

He points out that a genuine bill has intricate lines in the borders and all the details…while fake bills will be blurry.

There is also color-shifting ink that appears on genuine bills near the bottom that typically changes from green to gold.

Also, he said to pay attention to the security stripe on the bill that will be microprinted with the amount of the bill.

He also approved these tips Lubbock Police released in 2015:

-The genuine portrait on a bill will appear to be lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background. A counterfeit bill's portrait will be lifeless and flat, or may seem white.

-The border on a genuine bill is fine lines that are clear and unbroken. A counterfeit bill may have lines in the outer margin and the scroll-work may be blurred.

-The serial numbers have a distinctive style and they are evenly spaced and printed in the same ink color as the Treasure Seal. The serial numbers on a counterfeit bill may differ in color and the numbers may not appear evenly spaced or aligned.

-The paper that currency is printed on has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout. Most of the time counterfeiters will try and simulate them by printing tiny red and blue lines on their paper, close inspection reveals that they are just lines printed on the surface.

-Look for the watermark, each denomination bears a watermark depicting the same historical figure as the portrait (it will be positioned to the right of the portrait).

-Make sure you know what presidents belong on each currency, for example Andrew Jackson is on a twenty dollar bill and Benjamin Franklin is on the one hundred dollar bill.

Rolan and Rosales said it's important to know these details because if you're caught trying to pass fake money or producing it, it is a federal crime punishable by at least three years in jail.

Rosales says if you do ever have a counterfeit bill, make sure you do NOT try to pass it along to get your money back.

Rolan asks anyone with a suspicious bill to try to preserve it and call their local law enforcement.