DAVENPORT, Iowa – Davenport Police say they’ve been notified by the United State Secret Service about counterfeit money being passed through the Quad City area – all it takes is a $10 bill.
Harman Bajwa tries to check every bill that comes into his register at Central Grocery, and the fakes are easy to spot.
“We get them often,” says Bajwa. “We can tell if it’s a fake bill or not, we’ve been doing store business for a really long time.”
Bajwa and his family business have seen enough counterfeit bills to know they need a dish of water with a sponge right next to their cash register.
“Just wet it and if it doesn’t break that means it’s real,” Bajwa explains.
But that won’t catch every counterfeit. The Secret Service warned Davenport Police about bleached $10 bills.
“They’ll take a $10 bill, bleach the bill, reprint a $100 bill over the face of it, so then it looks just like a $100 bill,” explains Sergeant Mark Berger of the Davenport Police Department.
People are using the money to make money and can roll in ten times the original amount.
“You can take one in an don’t even realize it and then you go to purchase something and then you’re passing it,” Berger says.
Now, anyone can tell the difference, which is hiding in plain sight. On an authentic $100 bill the face of Benjamin Franklin will be seen in the center and in the watermark – faintly – in the lower right-hand corner. On a counterfeit $10 bill it will show a picture of Benjamin Franklin in the center, but the watermark will still be Alexander Hamilton when held up to the light.
There is also an embedded security thread to the left of the portrait, which reads “USA 100” when held up to the light. The Counterfeit has an embedded security thread to the right of the portrait, which reads “USA TEN” when held up to the light.
With money masterminds in the area, Bajwa and workers at Central Grocery are taking extra caution.
“If we don’t check the bill it’s a problem for us because we are losing the money out of our pocket,” says Bajwa.
If you come across a counterfeit bill, make sure you turn it into your local police.
The penalties for counterfeiting money range from a fine to up to 20 years in prison depending on the severity of the crime.