Counterfeit money slips into Selbyville

Employees of local businesses are being encouraged to check currency after counterfeit money was passed to Selbyville businesses in December of 2011. Four counterfeit $20 bills and one counterfeit $50 bill were found at McDonald’s, Family Dollar and Dollar General during the busy holiday season, beginning Dec. 11, 2011.

Selbyville Police Chief W. Scott Collins said several of the bills were of poor quality, were abnormal in size and lacked proper coloring, security threads and watermarks.

Although several passed without being initially detected, all the bills were eventually detected by use of commercially available counterfeit-detection pens.

Sometimes counterfeit bills are passed unknowingly by those who got the bills elsewhere, but Collins said that, in this case, it was deliberate.

One arrest has been made. Jennifer Foskey of Roxana was arrested for passing a bad check, and police found counterfeit bills in her pocket, they said. Foskey has faced numerous other criminal charges in the past, according to police.

Selbyville police and the Delaware State Police have partnered to investigate the counterfeit operation, which they said they supect may lead to someone within Sussex County. In such case, the police present all evidence to the U.S. Secret Service, which can take over the investigation if it sees a pattern between operations.

Counterfeit money cannot be exchanged for real money, so businesses that receive fake money will not be reimbursed. They must suffer the loss.

“That’s why it’s so important to check the money, to actually look,” Collins said.

Counterfeit money and checks are prevalent through tax season, Collins added. Selbyville usually only catches one or two counterfeits yearly. That made the recent string of counterfeit $20 bills unusual.

Collins said a fraudulent check may have incorrect account numbers, belong to someone other than the customer or be written for a large sum well above the purchase price, in order for the person passing the check to receive cash back.

Businesses are being encouraged to check currency using the normal anti-counterfeit measures, such as counterfeit-detection pens and checking for watermarks and security threads, as well as paying attention to size and color. Even holding a bill up to the light can indicate inconsistencies.

When holding a suspicious bill, Collins recommended employees tell the customer, “I believe this is a counterfeit bill. I’m not going to return it to you. I do need to call the police.”

Once guilty passers are told that, they generally flee, he said.

People who receive a counterfeit bill should do the following:

• Do not return the bill.

• Delay the passer if possible. Observe his or her description, as well as that of any companions, and the license plate numbers of any vehicles used.

• Contact the local police department.

• Write their initials and the date in the white border areas of the suspect note.

• Limit the handling of the note. Carefully place it in a protective covering, such as an envelope.

• Surrender the note or coin only to a properly identified police officer or a U.S. Secret Service special agent.