State News

State police warn businesses of possible counterfeit money

The Vermont State Police (VSP) began receiving complaints at the beginning of October from businesses statewide that received counterfeit $50 and $100 bills. Upon investigation, detectives learned that the passing of these counterfeit bills has been ongoing for several weeks, and detectives are now actively investigating numerous incidents in Vermont.

Most of the instances have been along the Interstate 91 corridor; however, VSP is urging all business owners to be vigilant to possible counterfeit money. If you suspect you or your business have encountered a suspicious piece of currency, please contact your local authorities.

The counterfeit bills in these cases are older in appearance and do not have many of the security features we are now accustomed to seeing.

While not always foolproof, counterfeit money may be spotted by the starch in the paper and the feel of the paper. Many stores use an iodine-based felt-tip pen that reacts to the starch in the paper. If the bill is real, the ink turns yellow; however, if the bill is counterfeit, it will turn a dark blue or black. The feel of the paper is another common way that people detect counterfeit bills, as the printing on real currency has a raised texture because of the type of press used to produce the bills.

For more information about detecting counterfeit money, please visit the U.S. Secret Service website,

Additional inquiries can be made to Detective Sergeant David Petersen at the VSP barracks in St. Johnsbury (802) 748-3111 or U.S. Secret Service at (802) 651-4091.

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