Counterfeit money in Hampton Roads

Cameron Williams  | Staff Writer

Although the holiday season is traditionally a time of joy and happiness, it is also a season of fake money. Store owners should keep an open eye out for counterfeit money this December, and customers should watch out, too.  Buying a gift for a loved one can turn into a nightmare if your dollars are phony.

“If it doesn’t feel right and doesn’t look right, it’s probably not right,” Hampton Police Detective Brandt Hess said to WAVY.com on Nov. 19. “It is up to each one of us to know what is counterfeit or not.”

With so many people trying to buy gifts, there also will be those trying to illicitly profit from the holiday hustle and bustle.

This is why, Hess saie in the WAVY.com article, that with the holidays approaching quickly, an increase of funny money will happen soon.

There are ways to identify counterfeit bills that Hampton students working in retail should know. Bills’ texture and colors are the primary characteristics people should look out for, according to Hess. It is also possible to spot counterfeit bills by examining typefaces.

“If you look where it says United States of America [on counterfeit bills], it’s more blurry,” Hess added.

Lastly, if you still have some doubts, try applying a counterfeit marker’s ink to the bill.  Police believe that if cashiers use these markers more often, fewer fake bills would enter circulation. The police’s highest concern is that with the holiday rush cashiers will be performing their jobs more quickly and inspecting bills less carefully.

Hampton University students are concerned about the fake money.  Zya Kinney, a HU sophomore, said checking if money is real was not something she has had to do until now.

“Being a college student, money is limited to us, and when it’s time to spend, thinking about if it’s able to use should not come across our mind,” Kinney said.

Wakeelah Peace-Bashir, a HU junior, said people use counterfeit money every day, but for retail stores, that’s a big deal because they’re losing out on real money and not profiting. For you, an HU student who want to buy gifts for loved ones: Be careful.

“If cashiers aren’t catching this fake money, they could be distributing it out to the public,” Peace-Bashir said. “Money is easy and hard to come by in our society. With fake money going around, people will lose money which could really hurt some businesses.”

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