Fort Collins consumers may have to make sure they have a bill
small enough to cover their tab.
With an increase in counterfeit bills many local companies are
taking extra precautions in order to protect themselves. Big City
Burrito has stopped accepting $100 bills in order to counter the
“We’ve actually caught two of them,” said Jimmy Towne, manager
of Big City Burrito, 510 S. College Ave. “They somehow changed a $5
bill into a hundred.”
Big City didn’t catch the bills until they tried to turn them
into the bank and were told they were counterfeit. According to
First National Bank, in the Lory Student Center, the most commonly
caught bill is the $20.
“We probably see counterfeit bills once or twice a week, and
that is just in one branch of the bank,” said Cindy Pratt,
tele-operations manager for First National Bank. “Twenties are the
most common, 50s and 100s are more common around the holidays when
people are trying to get away with more.”
Federal precautions such as new versions of the $20, $50 and
$100 bill have been put into effect in order to deter
counterfeiters. However according to Pratt, criminals are also
advancing with the times.
“They’re getting more and more clever all the time,” Pratt said.
“The criminals are still probably ahead of the game, I’m sure
there’s a lot out there in circulation.”
Computer Science Associate Professor Roger Alexander agrees that
counterfeiting isn’t an exceptionally difficult task.
“All you really need is a scanner, a high-quality laser printer
and the right kind of paper,” Alexander said. “The reason you’re
seeing the bills being changed is because without a whole lot of
technology someone can produce a counterfeit bill.”
Alexander believes that to effectively battle counterfeit bills
the currency needs to be technologically advanced. Imbedding a
computer chip within the paper currency is a precaution that
Alexander believes in as “entirely conceivable.”
Those criminals who chose to take the risk of counterfeiting
also take the risk of serious legal complications. Eloise
Campanella, press information officer for the Larimer County
Sheriff’s Department, says education is the most important
precaution that employers can take in avoiding counterfeit
“If they suspect a counterfeit bill they should call the proper
agency right away but do not try to apprehend the person.”
Campanella said. “A lot of people don’t know they are using it so
they like to wait around and talk to law enforcement because they
feel like they have been cheated.”
Counterfeiting is a class 5 felony and carries a maximum
sentence of six years in prison and a $100,000 fine.