The manager of the Star Bank on North Road in Aurora reported Tuesday that an undisclosed number of counterfeit $20 bills, all with the same serial number, were discovered in Monday night's deposits, according to Aurora police.
The bank sent the fake money to the Secret Service, which is responsible for getting counterfeit currency out of general circulation. The money was then turned over to the Federal Reserve, and the businesses that received the counterfeit cash take a loss for the amount they received, according to the bank.
Aurora police are sending fliers to area businesses alerting them to be cautious of cash especially during the high-volume sales of the holiday shopping season.
"It hasn't reached epidemic proportions yet but the potential for counterfeit passing is going to increase here in the next couple of months," said David Lee, resident Secret Service agent for the Akron office.
"We keep a log of every note that comes in," he added. "We look for patterns. We don't have any specific information now that there's a pattern developing in Aurora or any other area in that part of Ohio at this point but we keep track of all of those notes turned in."
Even so, Lee warned Portage County residents and merchants to be cautious because printing counterfeit money has become easier with today's technology.
"We're now having to deal with the computer-generated notes and the office machine copies," he explained. "Notes can be reproduced that are of better-than-average quality, but it's still not the quality, the feel, the texture of genuine currency paper."
Here are some tips from the Secret Service on how to detect counterfeit money:
Bills of the same denomination always have different serial numbers. Bills with the same serial numbers are an immediate tip-off to forgery.
Fake currency also has less of a three-dimensional quality than real bills. The images on counterfeit bills generally look flatter.
Real money has a higher rag content, making the bills feel more fibrous and less paper-like than counterfeit currency, which generally feels more slippery, like paper.
Anyone who suspects they've received a counterfeit note should get a description of the person who gave them the money, a description of the vehicle they drove and their license number if possible. They should then contact their local police agency.
"The local police are going to be able to respond quicker than we are from Akron," Lee said.
The Secret Service has brochures with information about how to detect counterfeit bills to businesses and banks. For more information on the brochures, contact the Secret Service at (330)761-0544.