Waco, TX — The Waco Police Department has recently seen an increase in reports of counterfeit money, and they’ve noticed nearly all the cases originated with a transaction through Craigslist.
The online market place that unties locals who want to sell and buy anything from small appliances to electronics is also uniting thieves with potential victims.
People looking to sell big-money items like computers, iPads and cell phones are the ones being duped.
The fraudulent buyers are using ‘washed money’ or ‘bleached money’ as police call it.
They usually use small-denomination bills like fives or ones. They then they put them through a washing process that takes the ink off the paper.
The defrauders put it through a high-quality printer once the bill is white. The end product is a $100 bill that is made of authentic paper, so it passes the marker test.
For the most part, it feels and looks like the real deal. But when victims use the fake money, often times it is confiscated. Not only leaving them without the cash, but the high-dollar item as well.
“They’re good. Some of them are very, very good,” said Sgt. Patrick Swanton of Waco PD. “I will tell you from personal experience that I’ve been given a hundred-dollar bill that even to me, I had no clue it was a counterfeit bill until I took it to the bank and they told me there was an issue with it.”
Swanton said a thorough check should prevent this.
For large bills, look for red and blue threads up close. Check out the watermarks, and when in doubt, have a bank test it first.
“Don’t worry about offending your buyer or your seller. Look at the money. Make sure the transaction you’re getting is good money,” said Swanton.
The person responsible will face state and federal charges if caught.