PITTSBURG — Movie prop money and bills with Chinese writing have popped up in Pittsburg and Crawford County after being used by fraudsters for several transactions.
According to the Pittsburg Police Department, several reports of the fake currency have been made by local businesses. PPD is asking local business owners and residents to be vigilant, and to help identify this currency.
Both the film prop money and currency with foreign text are designed to look like real money, but have several features that can show it is not real. Film prop money has no security features — such as holograms — and uses different portraits, images, emblems and seals than genuine currency. It is also marked “For Motion Picture Use Only.” Counterfeit bills may also have Chinese or Cyrillic text printed on the bills. These bills do not have a watermark or security thread when held to the light.
According to PPD, these bills have been discovered following transactions set up online through Facebook, Craigslist, eBay and others. Victims of the scam accidentally accept fake currency when selling items through an online source. PPD said these transactions often include the sale of valuable electronics.
PPD encourages online sellers to utilize the department’s safe exchange spaces when meeting to complete an online transaction. The safe exchange space is located north of the Beard-Shanks Law Enforcement Center at 201 N. Pine. The parking spaces are monitored by video surveillance 24 hours per day.
PPD Crime Analyst Jordan Garrison said fraudsters looking to purchase items with fake currency are unlikely to meet near the police station for fear of being caught.
PPD also cautions retailers to stay on the lookout for the false currency. Employees are encouraged to take their time and examine bills for signs of counterfeiting.
If counterfeit money is encountered, people are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency. Anyone with information regarding these investigations can notify PPD at 620-231-1700, or at its tip line, 620-231-TIPS.
For more information on the PPD safe exchange space, visit the PPD page at www.pittks.org.