CLEVELAND – You might want to check your wallet or your purse because northeast Ohio is getting hit with a new wave of counterfeit money, and if you end up with one, it could hurt, 19/43 News Dawn Kendrick reported.
Even when business is good at local retailers, sometimes the cash is bad.
Checking watermarks and security strips isn't enough. Even special detecting pens with ink that reacts to the paper used to make real money are no longer 100-percent effective.
"It's going to happen. You know it's going to happen," one consumer said. "As soon as they fix it, then someone else comes along and there's a new and better way.
"They'll find a way to defeat the pen. It's inevitable."
At Bank One, they said that the bad guys already have found a way to defeat the pen.
"They figured out ways to get around the pen based on the type of inks they use," Bank One spokesman Ray Loper said.
To combat this, Loper said that banks are investing in scanner machines. A Bank One scanner machine recently caught a phony $100 bill by sensing that the paper was thicker than the real thing.
"This was a pretty good counterfeit, but we caught it," Loper said. "We have had a series of 100s and 20s come through the bank."
Most consumers that talked to 19/43 News said that they don't keep a closer eye on the cash that they carry because they just assume that it's real.
"I trust money we get inside the U.S. is good money, and I really don't think twice about checking," consumer Connie Frisch said.
With more bad bills out there, however, officials say that we probably should be looking more carefully at the money we're carrying. Because of the recent influx of fake cash, businesses are already looking more carefully at the money you give them.
If they get stuck with a phony bill, they get stuck taking the loss.