Protect your business against counterfeit currency

cashiercolorSeveral law enforcement groups in Alabama alerted businesses this week to watch out for counterfeit currency. The fake bills had surfaced in Troy, Crenshaw County and Montgomery.

As we near the busy holiday shopping months, now is the time to review your loss prevention protocols. Statistics show that retail-related crimes, including the use of counterfeit currency, increase dramatically during the holiday season.

When retailers accept fake bills, they bear the burden of the loss. While counterfeiters’ techniques are getting increasingly complex, there are proactive steps retailers can take to protect themselves from and recognize counterfeit money. It is crucial that employees who handle cash are well-trained and familiar with the latest indicators of genuine U.S. currency. The Federal Reserve has a great, interactive resource for authenticating your money here.

The best way to prevent the use of counterfeit money is to carefully inspect high denomination bills at the point of sale. When would-be thieves see that you are serious about inspecting bills, they’ll most likely look for an easier target. If you suspect a counterfeit note or have information about counterfeiting activity, please report it immediately to the U.S. Secret Service, or to your local police.

Here are the steps the U.S. Treasury Department lists for your personal safety:

  1. Do not put yourself in danger.
  2. Do not return the bill to the passer.
  3. Delay the passer with some excuse, if possible.
  4. Observe the passer’s description – and their companions’ descriptions – and write down their vehicle license plate numbers if you can.
  5. Contact your local police department OR call your local U.S. Secret Service Office.
  6. Write your initials and date in the white border area of the suspected counterfeit note.
  7. DO NOT handle the counterfeit note. Place it inside a protective cover, a plastic bag, or envelope to protect it until you place it in the hands of an IDENTIFIED Secret Service Agent.
  8. Surrender the note or coin ONLY to a properly identified police officer or a Secret Service Special Agent, or mail it to your nearest U.S. Secret Service field office.

Please Note: There is no financial remuneration for the return of the counterfeit bill, but it is doing the “right thing” to help combat counterfeiting.