Police are asking Letcher County residents to pay close attention to cash they receive and make sure it isn’t counterfeit.
Whitesburg Police Chief Scott Adams estimated confiscating about $800 worth of counterfeit bills in the county last week. He said counterfeit bills were discovered at Family Dollar Store, the Whitco Marathon Station, Ermine Cash Express and the Food City Gas ‘N Go.
Adams said fake bills are circulating in $1, $5, $10, $20 and $50 denominations. Adams said he hasn’t seen a counterfeit $100 bill this December.
Adams said counterfeit $1 bills were found at the Marathon Double Kwik.
“Nobody had checked these,” said Adams. “They were going look right.”
Adams said the holiday season is a busy time for businesses, which makes it easier for fake money to slip through. Adams said store clerks need to take time to look closely at any cash they handle.
“We need everyone to be real cautious, especially at the small stores, to check as money comes through,” said Adams.
Adams said people who unintentionally end up with counterfeit bills lose that money and are not reimbursed.
“It is Christmas time,” said Adams. “People are in a bind to make ends meet anyway, and then we have this going on.”
Adams said the easiest way to distinguish counterfeit money from U.S. currency is that the ink on real money never dries.
“Rub it on a piece of white paper and the ink will come off,” said Adams.
Adams said fake money is smooth, while U.S. currency has a rough texture and a watermark.
Adams said some of the counterfeit bills have the same serial numbers printed on them.
Some store clerks use a pen to see if a bill is counterfeit. Adams said the pen will leave a dark mark if the bill is fake and a light or clear mark if the currency is legitimate.
The Whitesburg Police Department, Kentucky State Police, Letcher County Sheriff’s Department and the Secret Service have launched a joint investigation into the circulation of counterfeit bills in the county.