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Police Warn of Counterfeit Bills in Utah

PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - Has holiday and tourist spending increase, authorities are warning about counterfeit bills being passed off. This comes after someone tried to use counterfeit bills to buy a lift ticket at a Park City Resort. Law enforcement says fakes can be hard to spot.

Park City Police didn't arrest the man because they believe he was a victim who had fake bills passed onto him during a currency exchange before his trip.

Experts say with the holiday season and the high amount of spending. Counterfeit bills can more easily slip through if people aren't paying attention.

Bill Bishop is the Secret Service's Resident Agent in Charge of Salt Lake City, which deals with any counterfeit cases. He said there are almost no businesses criminals won't target.

"It's everywhere," said Bishop. "Large businesses, small businesses, It could be individuals, and you see a lot on Craigslist."

He notes that fake bills can sometimes be obvious, but in many cases aren't.

In his office he showed off bills which had foreign writings, and some which stated "for motion picture use only" but still were used. Most appeared nearly like a real bill. Bishop points out nearly every security measure can be counterfeited because of digital technology.

This includes pens which retailers use to mark a bill to see if it's fake. Bishop said criminals can put a chemical on the bill which can trick the test. Some of the fake bills on his desk had the markings which showed they passed.

One of the main ways to tell a real bill is from the number in the bottom right corner on the front. If you move it back and forth it will change color from green to copper. It's one of the only things counterfeiters can't replicate. Secret Service said there are other things to look for on a fake bill.

With the high holiday spending the thought of counterfeit money does worry some businesses, especially those in tourist areas.

Lial Gingell is the Assistant Manager at Billy Blanco's restaurant in Park City. He notes that in the restaurant industry thankfully spending habits have changed.

"We do get a little bit more cash than other places, but because we are such a big tourism area we deal with more credit cards," said Gingell.

Finding out about the bills in Park City has made him take a second look. He worries about his staff being taken on a fake bill for their meal and being out money on a tip.

While counterfeit money isn't a big concern Gingell said he does plan to talk with his staff on how to keep an eye out.




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