NORWOOD — The village is the latest St. Lawrence County community to see counterfeit currency showing up at local businesses.
Shawn J. Wells, officer in charge of the Norwood Police Department, said the department on Tuesday received a complaint from a local business, which he declined to name.
He said the counterfeit bill was a $100 denomination, possibly printed on a home color printer. No arrests have been made, and the incident remains under investigation, Mr. Wells said. Police officials in Massena and Canton also said they’ve seen counterfeit bills popping up as the holidays approach.
“So far, as far as we can tell, it’s a singular incident,” Mr. Wells said. “This time of year, these things seem to happen more often.”
He urged people and businesses to be vigilant and pay attention to all of their bills, not just the $100s.
“It’s a matter of being vigilant. You get busy this time of year, you’re in a rush ... it’s not until later on you figure out somebody’s duped you,” Mr. Wells said. “People need to feel and look at the bills. Actual American money is printed on what’s called rag paper. It has a very particular feel to it. Bills printed at home, they just feel like paper.”
He also noted that genuine American currency, in larger denominations, has a security strip in the actual rag paper and is stamped with a watermark.
“Generally speaking, counterfeit money is off-size, it’s off-center, the colors sometimes run,” he said. “A lot of these instances could probably be avoided, and take the time to look at the paper money they’re getting with an eye toward keeping themselves from being taken advantage of.”
In Massena, Lt. Cody Wilson said the department has seen about 10 instances of counterfeit cash in the last few weeks, all of which showed up at local businesses. No arrests have been made, and the investigations are ongoing, he said.
“Just be alert. Make sure you’re checking the bills out themselves to make sure they’re legit,” Mr. Wilson said. “We don’t want to see businesses get hammered. With all bills, be vigilant.”
In Canton, Police Chief James Santimaw said he’s seen five instances of counterfeit bills since the end of October,
“The bills have all been passed at local convenience stores and fast food restaurants, and have all been discovered by employees of these establishments,” Mr. Santimaw said. “In a number of cases, the serial numbers have been the same or similar, and we currently have ongoing investigations in several of these cases, that may or may not conclude with an arrest or arrests.”
He offered similar suggestions on being vigilant for fake U.S. currency. He said “to look over each bill for the watermarks and other unique features of legitimate currency, as well as ensuring that they follow their business’ recommendations when handling cash before accepting it.”
“Persons who pass counterfeit money generally try to do so in busy, cash transactions in hopes that the cashier will be too busy to take the time to check the bills over properly,” Mr. Santimaw said. “Anyone who finds what they suspect is fake money should immediately contact their local law enforcement agency.”