Business Alerts

Counterfeit Money

We have had a recent rash of counterfeit money being passed in the Barnwell area. These bills range from $10 bills to $100 bills and most are of very poor quality. There are some very good ones out there so maintaining awareness is critical. The poorer quality bills are easily detectable by the look and “feel” of the bill, the colors are off, the images fuzzy, and the size may be inaccurate. A person attempting to pass a poor quality bill will often soil and tear it in order to make the bill appear worn and genuine. Because there are some that are hard to detect by the most experienced cashier we recommend a counterfeit detector pen be used on any suspect bills and on all larger denominations. These pens are readily available locally and are simple to use. Use the pen to place a mark on the bill and if it turns gold it is genuine. Black or dark brown however and the bill is likely counterfeit. If you have been passed a suspicious bill call the police immediately.

Tips on how to detect counterfeit money

Watch out for your Purses!

This is a reminder to all the ladies to keep a close eye on their pocketbooks while shopping. We have had a large number of cases where ladies have put up their shopping carts and left their purses in the cart. Of course, their purse is gone once they realize their mistake and return to the cart. Also some purses have been stolen from unattended shopping carts inside of stores. Stores are doing all they can to prevent this from happening but they need your help. If you do get your purse stolen report it at once. The sooner we know if the incident the better chance we have of finding it. If you loose it in the store go straight to the store manager and report it.

While you are walking with your purse keep it close to your body. If someone attempts to snatch it from you, do not fight him or her. Your getting hurt is not worth the risk. Instead, try to draw attention to the incident by yelling or setting off the panic alarm if your car is equipped with one. Get as much detail about the suspect as you can and call 911. If you have any questions about this you can call 259-1838.

Please pass this information along to as many ladies as possible.

Reminder from the Chief

The City of Barnwell Police Department would like to remind all businesses to do periodical checks on all of their security equipment to make sure that it is in good working order. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call 259-1838.

Counterfeit Checks

First of all we like to give all our businesses the definition of a counterfeit check. A "counterfeit check" is a check that is created by the party who is conducting the fraudulent transaction. Unlike a forged or altered check a counterfeit check was not issued to a customer of the financial institution on which it is drawn. The color printer technology of today used in conjunction with computer technology can create a document that appears to be a real check. Programs are available at minimal costs that allow a party to make their own checks. Bank check printer paper is available along with magnetic ink cartridges to print the MICR line. Of course the products were developed for and are intended to be used by businesses and individuals to produce legitimate items but that is not always the case. A counterfeit check may even bear the logo of the bank customer on whose account the check is drawn. In some instances a counterfeit check will contain entirely accurate information regarding the name and address of the customer, the name and address of the bank, the customer's account number, the bank routing number, an appropriate check number and be printed on appropriate paper. However, more often than not, some of the data on the face of the counterfeit item or the paper stock is not correct. For that reason all non-standard checks presented for payment or to be cashed should be carefully examined.

A call to the customer to verify that a check is legitimate may avoid a loss. The two most recent counterfeit checks, represented as being Days Inn payroll checks, were cashed at a local grocery store and appeared to be drawn on the BB&T Bank. These checks were printed on regular check stock paper purchased from an office or business supply store. However, there were different types of printing on the checks, the print wasn’t clear, and the phone numbers and address were false. A simple phone call could have saved this merchant over $800.00. In fact just closely examining the checks would have been effective because the phone number printed on the counterfeit check for the Days Inn had a prefix of 235 which is not used in the Barnwell area. No ID information was documented on either check, leaving the Police Department little to work with and a merchant out their money. Please be alert and always document ID information on any checks. In addition the use of a thumb print signature will aid in prevention, identification and apprehension of counterfeiting suspects. A thumb print signature is simply a thumbprint placed on the check by use of inkpad. Most counterfeiting suspects will look at the inkpad and move on. The cost of a inkpad could save some area businesses thousands of dollars a year.

Remember be alert and don’t hesitate to call the police. Often as a police officer responses to a business on counterfeit check that was cashed two weeks before and has been returned by the bank the police officer is told by the merchant , “ I knew there was something wrong  with that check when I took it”. The police officers next question, which is never asked out of courtesy, is, “if you knew there was something wrong, why did you cash it?” The Police Department cannot do it alone. We need the help and cooperation of the business community. The Barnwell Police offers a class on checks for managers and employees of area businesses. If you are interested in having a class for your business contact 259-1838.

 

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