Amarillo Police: Counterfeit money being passed at garage sales


AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — If you are thinking of having a garage sale this summer, you might want to learn how to spot counterfeit bills.

APD is issuing a community warning after three garage sales reported being given fake $20 bills this weekend and it’s not the first time it’s happened.

One thing most people know to keep an eye out for at a garage or estate sale is to make sure no one’s swiping something away.

“I know all estate sellers and probably garage people. The thieves come in and they take, they take what they want,” said Glenice Thompson, Cristi’s Estate sales member.

Another thing that can often be overlooked is the use of counterfeit bills.

“People are trying to run a garage sale, and they’ve got people looking through their stuff, they’re trying to keep a hold of their money, they’re trying to take money, there’s a lot going on at a garage sale.,” said Sgt. Carla Burr. “If you just have one person or two people, and you’ve got a bunch of people there, there’s a lot of distractions.”

Thompson knows what to look for after hearing about the community alert from APD about the fake money being used at three different garage sales.

“We called the bank today and said ‘okay we heard this, what do we need to do about it,'” said Thompson.

She also knows from experience. She and her estate sale team fell victim to the counterfeit bills just two weeks ago and didn’t realize until they took it to the bank.

“Once they see that it’s not real, we’re out. So we have been cheated and there goes our profit,” said Thompson.

Sgt. Burr said there are three main things to look for:

  • A security thread on the left side.
  • A faint watermark of President Jackson.
  • The number 20 in the corner should change color from copper to green.

“One citizen asked me if we would show them the fake one that was passed, but what’s more important is knowing what the real ones look like because every counterfeiter is gonna make their bills different,” said Sgt. Burr.

The most recent counterfeit bills were used at garage sales on Durango St. and Kimberly St, but Sgt. Burr said, of course, it can happen anywhere.

A reminder to file a report with police if you do fall victim to counterfeit bills.

This is a website you can go to and it shows you exactly what to look for to detect if money is counterfeit or not. 

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