TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Toledo Police are investigating a string of crimes that could cost all residents in the long run: Counterfeit bills have been passed at at least three local businesses in the past week.
Police say a mini mart in east Toledo received at least three counterfeit bills this week, but two other businesses in north and east Toledo have seen them as well.
The thing that makes this case unusual is the bills are not big, like $50. The criminals are using fake $5 bills – all with the same serial number. Clerks don't usually check smaller bills for legitimacy.
With the uptick in these fake bills being passed, there is a chance residents could get stuck with some, too.
"The best thing to do is try to verify it is a counterfeit bill. Sometimes banks help you with that if you take it to a bank," said TPD Sgt. Joe Heffernan. "If you believe you have a counterfeit bill, call the police department. We will come and get it. All the counterfeit money or suspected counterfeit money we get, we hand over to the Secret Service."
The Secret Service performs a detailed inspection on all the bills police obtain, but it's difficult to track down who used it and whether or not the person using it knew it was counterfeit in the first place.
Before you take change from a store, police say you should make sure the bill has a safety strip, watermarks, and feels like normal money.