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Local police give alert on counterfeit bills

WORTHINGTON -- Before accepting that $100 bill, hold it up to the light and look for Benjamin Franklin's face. If you see Abe Lincoln instead, call the cops.

Two counterfeit $100 bills have recently surfaced in Worthington, and the Worthington Police Department wants shopkeepers and the general public to keep an eye out for more.

The bills that were found are actually $5 bills that were washed and reprinted as $100 bills.

"You have to examine the watermark," said Worthington Police Detective Sgt. Kevin Flynn. "Hold it up to the light and make sure there is a picture of Ben."

Anyone with a suspicious bill or with information is asked to contact the Worthington Police Department.

The washed $5 bills have been reported in various places around the nation in the past several years, including St. Cloud, which got hit by a blast of the fake Franklins on Halloween. Nineteen bills made their way into busy tills that evening; one bar took in seven that night.

According to more than one report, the pens used to mark bills and check for fakes are useless on the counterfeit $100s because the bill itself is real. The bleaching of $5 bills for use as a reprinted $100 was a driving force behind the recent redesign of the $5, with the big purple number 5 on the back and the variety of colors on the bill. On the new $5s, there are two watermarks of the number 5. The older bills have a watermark of Lincoln.

According to the U.S. Secret Service, about half of its counterfeit cases involve using real currency to make phony bills.