Miamisburg Perkins latest business hit with counterfeit money
MIAMISBURG, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Perkins on Byers Rd. is the latest victim of counterfeit money circulating through the region.
Managers told Fox 45 the bogus bills started showing up about a month ago, when they noticed a $20.
"Over the next few weeks, we started getting more," said manager Elizabeth Howard.
The crime seems to be a regional trend. Last month, investigators arrested a man accused of passing more than $100,000 fake bills through Miami County. In December, police made a $50,000 bust near Cincinnati. But, it's not only fake money that has businesses on alert. Howard warns of quick-change artists who come in with big bills, and try to break them down.
"Every time they get a bill back they'll say, 'Can I exchange it for something else?'"
They often make off with between $15 and $40 dollars, according to Howard. Even experienced workers, who deal with money daily, can get caught up.
"You get confused, so then you start to trust them," Howard told Fox 45's Shavon Anderson. "You just start handing them back what they ask for."
So how do you catch crooks?
Most businesses have special markers that turn colors on counterfeits. Perkins uses a machine that backlights hidden watermarks on real money, which isn't found on fakes. The machine also acts as a magnetic detector. Real money makes a 'beeping' noise, when placed on it.
There's also some tricks to spotting suspected scammers.
"They keep you distracted," she said.
They'll continuously ask questions to keep the attention off the register, and on them.
"It just happens that easy," said Howard. "You think, 'Well, they look nice, they have a family, you know they're not going to give me fake money.' That's really what happened. It was a nice family that was dressed well, and they gave us fake money."
Most banks don't reimburse businesses who've lost money to scammers. However, the U.S. Secret Service encourages people to file a report with their office, so they can mark areas for investigation. A 2016 federal report showed the agency stopped more than $64 million worth of counterfeit money from circulation. Agents arrested 543 people and shut down 75 manufacturing plants.