Sebastian Chamber warns of counterfeit money after possible Fellsmere incident

By Debbie Carson, Online Editor

SEBASTIAN — Local businesses were put on alert Wednesday by the Sebastian River Area and Indian River County chambers of commerce after $70 worth of counterfeit bills were apparently passed at the Fellsmere Food Mart last week.

Fellsmere’s police chief, Scott Melanson, went to the store Wednesday afternoon to collect the bills. He was unavailable for immediate comment about the incident.Rita Turner, the manager at the convenience store, said that some time last week someone passed both a $50 and a $20 to one of her cashiers.The $50 was made of two pieces of paper and the $20 was waxy, Turner said.

“I felt it right away,” she added, noting that she is keeping the bills as an example for her employees and the public.”Businesses need to be alert,” said Beth Mitchell, executive director of the Sebastian Chamber.

She added that in these economic times it’s even harder on the businesses if counterfeit money gets passed.

“You just have to be very careful with who you’re dealing with,” Mitchell said.

Chief Melanson offered these tips to help spot fake bills:

Use a counterfeit detector pen

Look for multiple bills with the same serial number

Hold the bill in question up to the light and look for the watermark

The U.S. Secret Service offers these additional tips:

Look at the money you receive and compare a suspect note with a genuine note of the same denomination and series, paying attention to the quality of printing and paper characteristics. Look for differences, not similarities.

The genuine portrait appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background. The counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat. Details merge into the background, which is often too dark or mottled.

On a genuine bill, the saw-tooth points of the Federal Reserve and Treasury seals are clear, distinct, and sharp. The counterfeit seals may have uneven, blunt, or broken saw-tooth points.

The fine lines in the border of a genuine bill are clear and unbroken. On the counterfeit, the lines in the outer margin and scrollwork may be blurred and indistinct.

Genuine serial numbers have a distinctive style and are evenly spaced. The serial numbers are printed in the same ink color as the Treasury Seal. On a counterfeit, the serial numbers may differ in color or shade of ink from the Treasury seal. The numbers may not be uniformly spaced or aligned.

Genuine currency paper has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout. Often counterfeiters try to simulate these fibers by printing tiny red and blue lines on their paper. Close inspection reveals, however, that on the counterfeit note the lines are printed on the surface, not embedded in the paper. It is illegal to reproduce the distinctive paper used in the manufacturing of United States currency.

Those who suspect they have come into contact with individuals passing or attempting to pass counterfeit money are asked to call their local law enforcement agency at their respective number listed below.

Indian River County Sheriff’s Office: (772) 569-6700

Vero Beach Police Department: (772) 978-4600

Fellsmere Police Department: (772) 571-1360

Sebastian Police Department: (772) 589-5233

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