HAZARD — A large amount of counterfeit $50 bills have recently turned up in Perry County, and the sheriff’s office is warning business owners to be aware of what has become a growing problem.
Starting around July 3, the Perry County Sheriff’s Office has received several complaints of counterfeit $50 bills being passed at local stores. The bills have been found in large numbers in a short period of time, which is cause for alarm for law enforcement trying to find the person making the bills.
“We have been getting a flood of counterfeit $50s,” said Chief Deputy Tony Eversole.
The bills are fairly well done on a textured off-white paper, and Eversole said that while the bills do have imperfections that show they are counterfeit, any cashier or business taking bills quickly could easily mistake them for real currency.
Eversole said that deputies are trying to get the word out to hopefully save local businesses from taking these bills.
“We are doing some PSAs to let the businesses and people know to check,” said Eversole, adding that he actually teaches classes to local businesses about checking for counterfeit bills. He has official copies of bills blown up to show the detail and how to tell subtle differences.
“On a $20 bill there are 25 different detection methods,” said Eversole. “Fibers, strip, water mark, if you get out a magnifying glass their faces are made up with the denomination.”
The paper that is used for a real bill is made up of cotton fibers with red and blue mixed in. The ink is made by one company that only has one client — the U.S. Mint.
The counterfeit bills being found right now in Perry County are not difficult to detect with a counterfeit pen or looking closely at the bill, however, the identity of the person making them is more difficult. Eversole said that the descriptions of the people using the bills vary from an African-American man by himself to a Caucasian man with a child.
The longer the bills are in circulation, the harder it will be to track their origins since they will be passed from customers to businesses and back to customers as change.