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Watch for Counterfeit Cash in Greenwich

The use of counterfeit $100 bills has reportedly been on the rise in the Greenwich area, and customers and merchants should be on the lookout for the bogus bills, police said.

“Periodically we receive reports of counterfeit money being passed around,” said Lt. Kraig Gray, spokesman for the department. “The Secret Service is investigating, but we assist when it comes to our attention.” On Feb 12, two suspects used counterfeit $100 bills at the CVS and Post Road Liquor store in Cos Cob. Police are investigating, but no arrests have yet been made.

“Currency has been counterfeited for years and years, so whenever there’s a counterfeit bill being passed in a particular area, it gets noticed right away,” said Robert Barrett of the U.S. Secret Service . “As a whole, there’s not a spike in counterfeit being circulated.” Barrett said thus far no correlation has been found between a rise in counterfeit currency because of holiday shopping or the downturn of the economy.

The U.S. Secret Service was founded in 1865 for the purpose of suppressing counterfeit currency. “Back then, upward of 1,600 banks were producing different notes and one-third to half of all currency was counterfeited,” said Barrett. “Today, the amount of U.S. currency that is counterfeited is one-one-hundredth of 1 percent [.001 percent), which is a very small fraction.”

If a merchant receives counterfeit money, he or she does not have to return it to the customer. “The one thing we do ask is not to get into a confrontation. We want people to be safe,” said Barrett. Merchants are advised to get a description of the individual, possibly a car and license plate number, and contact local police.

“We do a very good job of keeping counterfeit currency out of circulation,” said Barrett. “A large part of counterfeit currency that does get passed is detected almost immediately by merchants or once it reaches the bank.”

Anyone with information regarding the use of counterfeit money at the CVS and Post Road Liquor store should contact Detective David Wilson at 203-622-8054.

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