ST. GEORGE — Police are warning the public of a new batch of fake money that has been popping up across the county – and beyond – and is now circulating through Southern Utah.
The St. George Police Department posted to Facebook Tuesday that it had received multiple calls concerning counterfeit bills with red Chinese lettering on them.
“These bills are not real currency, and anyone receiving such a bill should immediately contact St George Police,” the post states.
“Be sure to exercise due caution when accepting cash, particularly with denominations over $20.”
Among the businesses hit in St. George were Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dillard’s and a number of convenience stores, St. George Police officer Tiffany Atkin told St. George News.
Target was possibly the worst hit with a loss of around $800, she said.
The scam relies on people either not paying attention or thinking the lettering is just something someone stamped on a legitimate bill, Atkin said, adding that it isn’t uncommon for people to sometimes write messages on bills as they are passed along.
However, this isn’t the first time the fake bills with Chinese lettering have shown up in Utah.
Last year the Moab Police Department encountered the bill as well, The Times-Independent reported. Moab Police came across the fake bills in October 2017 after it was reported they were circulating around small businesses in the area.
The bills have also appeared in other states, including Maryland, Florida, Michigan, Texas and Arizona, as well as the countries of Canada and Australia, according to NTD.com.
The fake bills are actually used to train Chinese banks tellers in countering American currency, with the Chinese writing on the bills translating to “bill used for counting practice” and “not to be used for real currency.”
The fake bills can even be bought online, with one website St. George News found selling a batch of 100 fake $20 bills for around $9.
Anyone who encounters the fake Chinese counting bills is asked to contact the St. George Police Department as 435-674-4300.
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