By CHRIS COLLINS
Counterfeit $20 bills are continuing to show up at Baker City businesses as police continue the investigation.
Three fake $20 bills were discovered by Community Bank employees in deposits made by three separate businesses this week, said Sony Vela, bank manager.
The phony $20 bills have been reported in Baker, Union and Malheur counties, according to Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner.
In Baker City, the counterfeit bills have been taken inat York's Grocery, Bi-Mart, Gas 'n' Snack, The Dollar Tree, Martin Financial Services, and Maverik service station and convenience store, according to police. One person also reported obtaining one from an automatic teller machine.
Vela said she visited several businesses along Main and Broadway streets Tuesday in an effort to educate employees about what to look for in identifying counterfeit bills. She took along the three phony bills turned in at her bank to better illustrate the differences between the fake and the genuine money.
The counterfeit bills later will be sent to the bank's main branch at Joseph and then turned over to the Secret Service.
"The paper is a little different in feel, the color is different and the fiber is missing," she said. "It's very noticeable."
The paper used to print the genuine bills contains red and blue fibers woven through it.
In comparing the fake bills with the real ones it becomes obvious that the counterfeit money is lighter weight and feels more like they've been printed on copy paper. The fine detail in the portrait of Andrew Jackson also is missing in the copies and the color of Jackson's face is darker and not as clearly portrayed on the fake bills.
Vela said one of the easiest - and quickest - ways to detect an authentic bill can be found in the bottom right corner where the number 20 is slightly raised off the surface of the bill. On a genuine bill, the number changes from gold to green when it is tilted slightly. The number on the fake bills is flat and does not change color.
Other security features include watermarks that can be seen when the bill is held up to the light. Genuine bills feature a vertical line that runs down the left side of the front of the bill. The line is composed of the words USA Twenty. Jackson's face also can been seen in a watermark on the right side of the bill when it's held up to the light. Those features are missing from the counterfeit bills.
An automatic currency counter kicked out one of the three fake 20s deposited at Community Bank, as a "suspect document," Vela said. The other two were found by bank tellers.
"They did a fine job detecting them by feel,"she said, especially considering the large number of $20 bills Community Bank handles daily.
One of the fake bills was found among $8,000 in 20s deposited by one businesses, she added.
Businesses also can employ a counterfeit detection pen as a way of identifying the counterfeit bills. The pens leave a black mark on the fake money; the special ink leaves a light yellow mark on the genuine bills.
"The pen is a good tool to have, but don't depend on it all the time," Vela warns. "Definitely look for the security features."
She urges the business community and anyone else who wants to learn more about how to identify counterfeit bills to visit this website: www.wikihow.com/
"The more people know what to look for the better chances we have to get rid of all these bills," she said.