At least two counterfeit $50 bills have been passed in Craig in the last month, which should be a reminder for businesses to keep their guards up, Craig Police Department Lt. John Forgay said.
One of the bills was passed Monday during a busy time at McDonald's, and the other was exchanged at an outdoor vendor outside the Centennial Mall, Forgay said.
Upon discovery of a counterfeit bill, the individual or business accepting the fake money had just been handed "a worthless piece of paper," Forgay said.
"You can't get the money back," he added.
To guard against accepting counterfeit money, Forgay advises businesses to invest in markers that can detect the fake bills. The marker's ink turns black on the bill if the note is a phony.
New $20, $50 and $100 bills to be circulated through next year also have a security strip running vertically up the left side of the note. Color- shifting ink on a bill's number in the lower right-hand corner changes from copper to green when the note is tilted. Another distinguishing characteristic of the new bills is a watermark, or faint image of the president's face that can be seen from both sides of the note.
Forgay said that counterfeit bills, which may be created by a laser printer, wouldn't have these distinctions.
Though two counterfeits have been reported, the numbers of phony bills circulating in town likely is greater than that, Forgay said.