Counterfeit bills being circulated in Waterloo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Counterfeit bills being circulated in Waterloo


Counterfeit money is showing up at many area businesses, said Waterloo Police after they took a handful of reports of counterfeit bills just this weekend.

"Two days ago, a couple guys came to the bar and gave my bartender a hundred (dollar) bill," said Mersim Osmicevic with BH Club United Bar & Restaurant in Waterloo. "She showed me the bill, and it was fake. He took one bottle of Bud Light, and then was out the door. I tried to catch him, but he just leave, and I call the cops."

Police are getting a lot of reports like that of counterfeit bills being passed at area businesses, and unfortunately, businesses become victims by losing potential profits when fake money is accepted.

"If you're a business, you know, you're the one who's going to be responsible for it," said Captain Tim Pillack of the Waterloo Police Department. "So  just take a little bit of extra time to look at the bill, maybe question the person that has it in their possession, and try to verify that it is, in fact, a real bill."

Twenties are the most commonly forged, but Waterloo Police are seeing counterfeit bills from fives to hundreds, and police say there are a few telltale signs of a fake.

You can see some of them when you look at a real $100 bill and a fake $100 bill side by side. 

"The $20 bills that come from the US government are very distinct in their colors, in their borders, in their edging," Pillack said. "They have the watermarks on them. They have the security strip inside the paper. You can usually tell a difference in the feel of the dollar bill itself.  The paper used by the government is thicker than the paper used to reproduce the dollars bills."

Those are tips that just might help catch more counterfeiters, and stop crooks in their tracks.

"The more of these bills we can confiscate, it's more of a deterrence for those who are trying to pass the bills," said Pillack.

If you have information about counterfeit bills being passed, you're encouraged to contact local police.

You can also leave an anonymous tip with Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers by calling (855)300-TIPS. Anyone with information leading to an arrest is eligible for a cash reward.

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