Iowa Counties’ Law Enforcement Notice Uptick in Counterfeit Bills

According to Dubuque law enforcement, businesses have noted there has been a rise in counterfeit bills. Key West True Value hardware store owners reported that a woman had used a fraudulent $100 bill on Oct. 18, and police reported that several other businesses are seeing customers with fake money.

Shelia Blatz, owner of Key West True Value, said that a woman came into the store looking to purchase window cleaner. She paid with the fake $100 bill. Blatz said the woman only had $100 on her. She looked hard at the bill, and even tried to use her counterfeit-detecting pen, only to find it had dried out. Blatz gave the woman her $80 in change.

The owner noted that she got the woman’s license plate number. Blatz said that when she went to the bank shortly afterwards, the tellers notified her that her cash was a fake.

The owner said the counterfeit bill looked extremely good but she noticed that it was the paper that felt “off”.

Blatz remarked the woman may as well had a gun and robbed her that way because it’s pretty much the same thing. She said with the insurance, she’ll have to meet a deductible so she may not even go that route. She also suggested that using fake money is a federal offense, and they will eventually be caught.

Dubuque police noted that since Sept. 25 this year, they have noted more than 20 transactions with local businesses that have been made using fake money. According to Lt. Scott Baxter, the bills being used range from $10 to $100.

Police affirmed they do have an investigator working the counterfeit bills case, and they’re looking at potential connections with the suspects. Baxter clarified that police feel the cases, at least some of them, are related to each other.

Blatz said employees with True Value noticed the woman right off because most of their customers are regulars. When the woman came up to the register with an $18 item, she asked if paying with a $100 bill was okay. Blatz decided to make small talk with her.

According to the owner, the woman appeared jittery. After giving the woman her change, she watched as she got into a vehicle with two other people inside. Employees, upon finding out the bill was fake, wrote the suspects’ descriptions and along with a description of the vehicle. They also got video surveillance to give to the police.

Blatz noted that the police had everything within the hour of the incident.

Police stated they like getting the counterfeit bills to track them through their serial numbers, as they often repeat by the counterfeit money producers.

In Platteville, Wis., police have also seen a rise in counterfeit bills, with at least three businesses reporting the use or passing of $100 fake bills. In surveillance images, two women can be seen trying to pass the money off.

Dale McCullick, Crawford County, Wis. Sheriff said the department noted reports of $20 and $100 counterfeit bills, but there have been no arrests.

Dyersville, Iowa police acknowledged that the use of fake money is popular for several days but then there’s a long gap. According to Dyersville Police Chief Brent Schroeder said counterfeiters do this to avoid being caught. He said business owners and people should turn suspicious bills over to police and be aware when handling money, regardless of the denomination.

To help fight off counterfeiters we recommend being familiar with the look and feel of real money and looking into counterfeit detectors to protect your business from being hit by fake money.

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