Have you given much thought about counterfeit bills? Probably not. HLN's consumer advocate Clark Howard suggests you should. Whenever accepting paper bills from an individual, a retailer, or even a bank, be cautious and accept bills no larger than twenties when possible. Why? "Because bills larger than that have a much higher chance of being counterfeit," advises Howard in a recent post to his website.
Los Angeles resident David Lipin was recently caught in a jam when he unknowingly tried using the fake 20 and 100-dollar bills he had just received from cashing a postal order at a Post Office. The clerk taking his cash payment at the gas station where he'd just filled up called the police, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Lipin then called the Los Angeles Police Department himself to report that he'd received counterfeit bills. "I wanted it very clear that I was a victim and not someone trying to pawn off some counterfeit dollars," Lipin said.
The 100-dollar bills turned out to be bleached and altered five-dollar bills.
Besides the worry of being charged with passing a counterfeit bill - which is a felony - Lipin was also out the money, as the last person in possession of counterfeit money has no recourse.
To educate yourself on how to spot counterfeit bills, visit uscurrency.gov.