Community Alert: Counterfeit Currency

The Champaign Police Department are investigating recent reports of counterfeit currency being presented to area businesses. Many of the forgery attempts involve an individual presenting a washed, or bleached, $10 bill and presenting it as a $100 bill. In one instance, an alert employee noticed the watermark on the $100 bill was of Alexander Hamilton and not Benjamin Franklin and denied the purchase.

To help authenticate US Currency, hold a bill up to a light and look for a watermark of the face image of the bill. Both images should match. Also, by looking at the bill through a light, it will reveal a thin vertical stripe containing text of the bill’s denomination. Additional security features of U.S. Currency, safety tips and counterfeit examples can be found by visiting

Counterfeit currency is often placed into circulation by passing it through the hands of several persons. These persons then continue to circulate the money by making small purchases at area businesses. In many of the reported cases to the Champaign Police Department, the offender has sought to make a small purchase with a counterfeit $100 bill to recover as much real currency in return.

Police are encouraging all businesses to review the security features of U.S. Currency and how to authenticate money. Additionally, be wary of unknown persons who attempt to make small purchases with large denominations, ask for bills to be traded out or make unusual requests for change.

If counterfeit currency is suspected, please contact the Champaign Police Department or the local United States Secret Service Office – the agency primarily responsible for investigating counterfeit currency.

Anyone having information regarding those involved with counterfeiting currency can call the Champaign Police Department at (217) 351-4545. If you wish to remain anonymous you may also submit tips to Crime Stoppers by phone at: 217-373-8477 (TIPS); online at; or the “P3 Tips” mobile app.

Champaign Police reminds citizens that information submitted to Crime Stoppers is completely anonymous. Calls are routed to a third-party national call center that receives your information, completes a tips information form, and then passes the information to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Caller ID tracking is not utilized by Crime Stoppers and conversations are not recorded.