Knoxville firefighter finds counterfeit $20 with foreign symbols

Local News

A Knoxville firefighter found $20 on the ground Wednesday morning, but it turned out to be counterfeit.

The counterfeit bill looks somewhat genuine, however in the left corner, there are red characters in Chinese, according to the U.S. Secret Service Knoxville Office.

Agent Jason Brown says his office has been alerted about the counterfeit $20 bill, but he says it’s important for everyone to know that the possibility of you somehow getting counterfeit cash from a retailer or a bank is extremely rare.

This type of counterfeit cash with writing in Chinese is nothing new according to Agent Brown. He says counterfeit bills like this are sold online from overseas and marketed as a training aid. He says this kind of money has been passed around for years all across the country.

Secret Service agents say they’ve been working with retailers for years to get this kind of counterfeit money off the marketplace.

Agent Brown says his office has encountered in East Tennessee $20 and $100 units of counterfeit cash with Chinese writing on it, though it’s not necessarily against the law to have this counterfeit cash in your possession. It is against federal and Tennessee state law to use it in any kind of transaction as real currency.

There are a number of security indicators printed on money to make sure it’s genuine:

  • From $10 up to $100 bills there’s color-shifting ink where the number in the right corner on the front turns from copper to green when tilted
  • A watermark is visible from either side whn you hold a bill up to the light
  • Except for $1 and $2 bills, there’s a clear thread embedded vertically, inscribed with the bill’s amount which you can only see when held up to light

If you’d like to learn more about what to look out for on your money, the Secret Service has more information by clicking here.

Agent Brown says if you’re concerned that your cash may not be genuine, you can always take it to the bank for inspection.

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