Police issue a warning, telling people to take a close look at the cash they’re using.
Green Bay Police in US say fake money is popping up all over the area, even being passed at businesses, despite Chinese writing all over it.
Police say it’s not hard to tell the difference between a real and fake $20 bill, but they’re still finding people falling victim to it.
“We’ve had some businesses, that an hour or so after a transaction occurs, either they’re doing their safe drop or whatever, and they suddenly realize, oh my goodness, that is not real money,” says Green Bay Police Lt. Rick Belanger.
He agrees, it’s pretty clear the money is fake. Chinese writing on the front and back, in red, stands out.
“That should kind of ring a bell and say this isn’t real. What is this, a joke?” says Belanger.
There are also marks on the top right corner of the bill, and it feels funny, like regular paper.
Investigators think this money was actually printed in China, for a legitimate reason, but then brought to the U.S. via the Internet.
“It looks like Chinese banks use this kind of currency or paper to help train their staff on either counting American money versus Chinese money, or some kind of training purposes with Chinese banks,” explains Belanger.
Police used Google Translate to tell us the Chinese line on top likely reads the word ‘void,’ and the line at the bottom likely says ‘practice dedicated with prohibited circulation.’
The made in China money somehow ended up for sale online, and police have seen $20, 50 and 100 dollar bills being circulated.
They say some are being used in drug deals, and lots of other fake bills are being found with kids.
Police are concerned, as a joke or dare, that kids will try buying something to see if they get away with it.
“Once they do that, it becomes a crime. Possessing it is not a crime, but once you pass it for some kind of financial benefit, it’s called uttering, and it’s a criminal charge,” says Belanger.
Police urge businesses or anyone who deals with cash, especially at events like Farmers markets, to take a few extra seconds and not just look at each bill, but feel it. Then do one easy test.
“You could just take them and go like this,” says Belanger, holding the bill up to the light. “And see the strip in each spot. Counterfeiters can’t duplicate that strip. That’s really, really difficult.”
By Sarah Thomsen