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     The Sheriff’s Office has learned that counterfeit twenty dollar bills are being circulated and passed in Baxter County and possibly in the surrounding area. 

     Three counterfeit twenty dollar bills were deposited at a local bank, which made the Sheriff's Office aware of the incident.  According to bank personnel, the abnormal characteristics of these counterfeit bills were that:

  1. 1.     The bills feel thicker than normal when touching or handling them.
  2. 2.    The ink may run or smudge when the bill is wet.
  3. 3.    The bills tend to separate or peel apart.

     A marker pen used to detect counterfeit bills failed to identify these as counterfeit.

     According to the United States Secret Service website (  there are several things to look for when determining the authenticity of United States currency.  They are:

Portrait:  The genuine portrait appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background.  The counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat.  Details merge into the background which is often too dark or mottled.

Federal Reserve and Treasury Seals:  On a genuine bill, the saw-tooth points of the Federal Reserve and Treasury Seals are clear, distinct, and sharp.  The counterfeit seals may have uneven, blunt, or broken saw-tooth points.

Border:  The fine lines in the border of a genuine bill are clear and unbroken.  On the counterfeit, the lines in the outer margin and scrollwork may be blurred and indistinct.

Serial Numbers:  Genuine serial numbers have a distinctive style and are evenly spaced.  The serial numbers are printed in the same ink color as the Treasury seal.  On a counterfeit, the serial numbers may differ in color or shade of ink from the Treasury seal.  The numbers may not be uniformly spaced or aligned.

Paper:  Genuine currency paper has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout.  Often counterfeiters try to simulate these fibers by printing tiny red and blue lines on their paper.  Close inspection reveals, however, that on the counterfeit note the lines are printed on the surface, not embedded in the paper.  It is illegal to reproduce the distinctive paper used in the manufacturing of United States currency.

     A side by side photo comparison of each of these points can be seen on the Secret Service website.

     Counterfeit bills may be passed intentionally, or they may unknowingly be offered as payment by persons who are unaware the bills are not authentic.  Businesses or persons receiving questionable bills should contact their local law enforcement agency for assistance in investigating the authenticity of the currency.

/s/ John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff