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Crime & Courts

Wasilla police are seeing a spike in counterfeit bills

Wasilla police are warning people to look out for counterfeit currency making the rounds at much higher levels this year than last.

Last year, police responded to three reports of counterfeit money use, according to Wasilla Police Department spokeswoman Amanda Graham.

So far this year they've responded to 24, Graham said, mostly at restaurants.

The bills are larger denominations: $20s, $50s and $100s.

The money is a mix of bills with Chinese printing, movie prop money and "just flat-out fake-looking currency," Graham said.

The Chinese bills are printed with characters that, loosely translated, say they're practice money and not meant for circulation, she said. "People should reject currency that has Chinese writing on it, as a general rule."

Wasilla police offer tips to avoid counterfeit money:

— If accepting currency from people for items purchased online, meet at a bank or the police station, where the bills can be checked.

— On the front lower-right corner of bills, the denomination should be in color-shifting ink.

— When holding the bill up to light, you should see a watermark of the portrait that matches the one on the face of the bill.

— In various places on the bill you should see microprinting and feel raised text.

— There should be a security tag running down the left side visible in the light with the correct face value on it. On the new $100s there is a holographic blue bar next to Benjamin Franklin's face.

— Fake bills usually feel fake because they're made of poor-quality paper often missing red and blue threads.

Police say anyone suspecting they've received fake cash can call 907-352-5401 with a description of the person they got it from and their vehicle, if possible.

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