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Counterfeiters victimize businesses in Northampton County

Counterfeit bills in Bangor

BANGOR, Pa. - Police are urging the business community to be on high alert after counterfeit money was used at several businesses in northern Northampton County.

Police in Bangor are dealing with an ongoing problem of counterfeit $100 bills being used at local businesses.

A Tweet from Bangor police noted that as recently as Friday, two more counterfeit $100 bills were passed at downtown businesses.

Police said businesses should ask for smaller denominations and "be careful" when accepting cash.

The use of counterfeit money in Bangor is just a microcosm of a national problem -- a problem that is worsening as a growing number of people are able to get a hold of counterfeiting technology.

According to federal officials, gone are the days of elaborate presses to produce counterfeit money. Today, fake bills are being produced on inkjet and laser printers, and can be designed on home computers.

According to the U.S. Secret Service, about 20 years ago, less than one percent of fake bills were produced on digital printers. During the 2013 fiscal year, about 60 percent of the $88.7 million in counterfeit currency recovered in the U.S was produced on inkjet or laser printers.

"Today's counterfeiter is able to produce counterfeit currency with basic computer training and skills afforded by trial and error, and public education," the Secret Service notes in an online posting.

For this reason, the Secret Service anticipates the use of counterfeit money will continue to increase.

Just last year alone, U.S. law enforcement made more than 3,500 arrests of counterfeiters, according to a recent report by ABC.

While police urge businesses to accept smaller bills, the Secret Service also notes steps businesses can take to identify counterfeit cash. The Secret Service website shows several distinct features on bills that businesses should be on the look out for when accepting cash.

"Look at the money you receive," said the Secret Service. "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."

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