WESTBOROUGH, Mass. - A counterfeit $20 passed at Julio's Liquors has its owner warning other businesses to be on the lookout for fakes.
"Stuff like this is happening more, not less, with the current state of the economy," said Ryan Maloney, owner of Julio's Liquors, which recently dealt with a counterfeit $20 bill.
Maloney said that the counterfeit didn't get noticed by Julio's employees, but was caught by the bank after it was deposited. The bill was returned to the store, which handed it over to police. The perpetrator, however, may never be caught.
"We've caught some (counterfeiters) before, but that's because the store caught on right away, or got the plate number off the vehicle the person drove," said Police Chief Alan Gordon.
If a counterfeit bill isn't identified before it is used in purchase, the business loses money on the product purchased and any change given back. A business is hit hardest when a counterfeit $50 or $100 bill is used to buy an inexpensive item.
High quality consumer laser printers makes it easier for counterfeiters to replicate bills, according to Gordon. American Express travelers checks are also being replicated, and so are personal and business checks.
"There are a lot of scams with people making purchases over eBay or Craigslist," Gordon said. "The (forged) check will be sent for more money than what the purchase price was agreed on. There perpetrator will then ask the victim to return the difference, claiming they made a mistake."
For local businesses, education may be the best weapon against counterfeiting.
"Just train your employees," Gordon said. "The banks will tell you the safe guards to look for with larger denominations. The banks will certainly make the business aware of what exactly to look for, and will report on what's being passed (as counterfeits) in the area."
Maloney said that store employees are instructed to examine denominations of $20, $50, and $100. However, he noted that in the course of a busy business day, the counterfeit bill might be easy to overlook.