The Otsego County Sheriff’s Office is reporting that several businesses in the Oneonta area have been scammed by people using counterfeit twenty-dollar bills to purchase items illegally.

The Sheriff's Office is circulating video surveillance photos of two counterfeit scammers who passed fake $20 bills at Oneonta businesses and are hoping the public can help them identify these two individuals. See the photos below...

via Otsego County Sheriff's Office, Facebook
via Otsego County Sheriff's Office, Facebook
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via Otsego County Sheriff's Office, Facebook
via Otsego County Sheriff's Office, Facebook
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These are examples of fake $20 bills that were used.

via Otsego County Sheriff's Office, Facebook
via Otsego County Sheriff's Office, Facebook
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Retail associates are encouraged to learn how to spot counterfeit bills and there are several ways to spot a fake according to losspreventionmedia.com. UV counterfeit detection lamps and counterfeit money pens are the easiest tools to use to detect if a bill is authentic or not but there are other tell-tale signs of checking to see if a bill is real or not.

Check for color-shifting ink (since 1996) on any bill that is $5 or more to prove authenticity on the denomination of the bill in the bottom right-hand corner (see photo below).

real $20 with variable ink on denomination (TSM Oneonta, Canva)
real $20 with variable ink on denomination (TSM Oneonta, Canva)
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An authentic bill will have a watermark that can only be seen if the bill is held up to a light. Below is a REAL $20 and if held up to the light, you would be able to see a smaller version of Andrew Jackson's face on the right-hand side. It should look exactly the same as the face shown (just smaller).

via TSM Oneonta, canva
via TSM Oneonta, canva
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Counterfeit bills can be spotted for their blurry borders, poor quality printing, or burry text.

Authentic bills have raised printing which you can detect by running your finger across the bill. It's a texture that counterfeit bills won't have since it's very hard to reproduce that.

Look for a security strip on the bill which is sometimes hard to see. Hold your bill up to the light and look for it that way. It also should have micro-printing words on it that will say (according to the denomination) USA Twenty or USA 50 ($50 bill)In the real $20 below, you can't see the security strip (visible only when held up to the light) but you can see where it should be.

via TSM Oneonta, Canva
via TSM Oneonta, Canva
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The final way to identify counterfeit bills with ultraviolet light is by checking serial numbers. If you don't know what letters stand for what year, you can look it up on the internet. The bill above has a serial number starting with "M", which is the correct letter for 2013, the year in which the bill was printed. This system of labeling a bill was put into place to help people identify counterfeit bills more easily. It certainly helps to have a "cheat sheet" of what letters stand for what year to make it easier on yourself when it comes to spotting fake bills.

There are a few other ways to identify phony money and you can learn more at losspreventionmedia.com but all the methods above are the easiest ways to spot fake bills.

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