Sacto 9-1-1
June 30, 2009
Fake $50 bills used to scam 2 fireworks stands

From Kim Minugh:

Elk Grove police are warning firework stand operators to be on the lookout for counterfeit bills.

Police are aware of two cases in which people used counterfeit $50 bills to buy fireworks at two local stands, according to a department news release.

The crime is compounded by the target. Firework stands often are operated by non-profit groups trying to raise money for youth-based organizations, the release states.

Police offer these tips for preventing the passage of counterfeit bills:

- Be suspicious: Take time to look at and feel the money you receive.

- Check for obvious things like duplicate serial numbers.

- Be especially suspicious of older bills (those bearing pre-1996 designs) - or simply refuse them - and bills of larger denominations. Nearly all legitimate pre-1996 bills have been taken out of circulation and destroyed.

- Look at the bills in the light. The color-shift ink is very hard to fake. The security stripe and watermark are impossible to duplicate with an inkjet printer.

- Borders and markings should have clean, crisp lines and come to sharp points.

- If you believe you are receiving a counterfeit bill, call the police.

For more information about detecting counterfeit money, visit the U.S. Secret Service Web site at

Anyone with information regarding the passage of counterfeit bills is asked to call Elk Grove police at (916) 714-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers to Crime Alert can remain anonymous and might be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

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