JEFFERSON — The Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department is investigating several reports of counterfeit $10 bills circulating in the local economy.
A Conneaut woman reported receiving a fake $10 bill in her change from a Harpersfield Township fast food restaurant. When the woman attempted to spend the currency at another store, the bill failed to pass a marker test.
Another fake $10 bill showed in a Jefferson resident’s change from a flea market. The transaction occurred Nov. 23. The bill, according to the report, was slightly smaller than the real thing but had good quality printing.
An Ashtabula Township restaurant employee noted that a weekend bar customer paid with a counterfeit $10 bill that was discovered after the customer had left.
Lt. Terry Moisio said the department is looking into the reports, which numbered at least five by Thursday afternoon. He said one of them involved a $20 bill.
“It seemed like it was initially in Harpersfield, now all of a sudden Conneaut had one. We had one pop in Ashtabula Township, too,” Moisio said. “Whether it is in the money supply or someone is actually producing them, we don’t know.”
Moisio said the department will need to call upon the Secret Service, which works under the Treasury Department, if more occurrences are reported.
He said counterfeit currency, unless it is very good, is usually easy to distinguish from the real thing if you know what to look for.
“Look for any different type of feel to the paper, the size of the bill, the ink or a difference in the color of the ink,” he said. “When you see a counterfeit bill, they usually stick out.”
Store clerks often use a special marker to identify bills. Security strips, visible when held up to a light, also help identify the real thing.
Moisio said persons who suspect they have been dealt a counterfeit bill should contact the department.
“We don’t have any serious leads right now,” he said.