Counterfeit bills circulating in Pasco

PASCO, Wash. -- KEPR has learned five counterfeit bills were passed at local Pasco shops just last week. Police say they're finding more in the local economy as a whole. These could end up in your pocket and you'd be out the difference from a washed five that's been made to look like a 20.

The Pasco Police Department is cracking down on counterfeit bills after five $20 and $50 bills surfaced last week.

"When the money is collected at the end of the day and it is counted or however they process their money, they'll notice a bill that's a little different," said Officer Dave Yates.

But it was too late for some shop owners. The bills were already put in the register and the goods went out the door.

It's why Pasco police are trying to show you how to avoid becoming a victim of counterfeits. They're also going store to store in downtown Pasco to alert local business owners.

Viera's Bakery on the corner of Fourth and Lewis is no stranger to the counterfeit problem.

This $20 bill may look real, but at Viera's Bakery they have to hold it up to the light to look for a watermark and a security thread to make sure they are getting the real bill.

"We've received maybe two within a year. We've even had the 10 dollar bill," said Marisa Viera.

As a business owner, Marisa is concerned about this recent increase in counterfeits that could hurt her livelihood.

"It's a big concern, especially knowing it's 20s or 50s or 100s," she said.

Officer Yates says the easy check is to hold the bill to the light. Look for the watermark and the thread embedded in the bill. If those match, you'll probably be alright.

"Look at those items and you may not become a victim,"said Officer Yates.

Pasco police are currently investigating to find the individuals who passed off the counterfeit dollars.