A rash of counterfeit bills discovered this week in Tooele City has police cautioning businesses to be wary.
Seven bills, in $10s and $20s, have been reported to the Tooele City Police Department. On Tuesday, Arby’s turned over a $20 bill that had been passed to the fast-food restaurant.
Then on Wednesday, Wells Fargo reported six counterfeit bills to investigators that had come in through business deposits.
The seven bills total $130.
Capt. Paul Wimmer of the Tooele City Police Department, said counterfeit bills are reported to the United States Secret Service, which runs and tracks the serial numbers on the bills. But the local investigation is focused on trying to find a way to identify when the money was passed and by whom.
“We’re trying to see if there’s any evidence to see if there’s anything that can suggest specifically who handed [Arby’s] the $20 bill,” Wimmer said. “If [Wells Fargo] got the bills in deposits from businesses, that would be harder to track.”
Banks can report counterfeit bills directly to the organization without having to go through police. But Wells Fargo’s report helps police have a better idea of the scope of the problem, rather than believing it to be an isolated incident at Arby’s, Wimmer said.
He cautioned businesses to look carefully at the bills they accept, even during busy periods. While some counterfeit bills are fairly convincing, others are less so.
“Look closely. Educate cashiers on identifying counterfeit bills,” said Wimmer. “Some of them are done quite well; some are done very poorly and we’re surprised they got through because they feel quite differently and look quite differently.”
He added, “Some of them you can say, ‘I can see why they took that,’ and others are taken because the cashiers are just rushing. They get busy—we can understand that —but some of them are quite fake. Some of them are even the wrong size.”
If possible, businesses should train their staff on some of the markers of counterfeit bills, Wimmer said, and officers can also assist in teaching some of the basics in detecting fake money if requested.