Food News

Royal Palm Beach Taco Bell Hit by Counterfeit Crooks

Palm Beach County Police are asking the public to help identify two men who allegedly passed counterfeit bills at a Taco Bell restaurant in Royal Palm Beach.

Police have released video surveillance from the Taco Bell located at 10115 Southern Blvd. in Royal Palm Beach that appears to show at least one of two black males handing fake money to a clerk. Police say that these men have passed fake bills at this particular restaurant on several occasions.

The number of times this Taco Bell has received counterfeit cash from these individuals, the particular denominations, or how much was used has not been released to the public as of this writing. Managers at this Taco Bell declined to give details, citing company policy.

Counterfeiting money is a federal crime that is often investigated by the United States Secret Service, but the feds need more information in order to get involved, according to police.

It is not uncommon for criminals to use counterfeit money at fast food restaurants during the busiest part of the day when money changes hands at a faster rate and when clerks are more focused on serving customers.

However, fake bills could be spotted easily if one knows what to look for. There are several ways for detecting a fake bill: lack of a security strip running top-to-bottom on either side of the note (depending on denominations), lack of a watermark, smudging or blurring of details of the artwork, unevenly spaced or duplicated serial numbers, lack of blue and red fibers embedded in the paper or mismatched colors between serial numbers and Treasury seals.

There is also the feel and smell tests. Feel the note. If it feels thick and "flat" like printer paper, then it could be fake. Real bills contain texture. They also have a distinct smell.

Ultraviolet light can spot a fake bill too. Hold any bill above $1 beneath an ultraviolet or "black" light, and the strip will fluoresce: $100 bills will glow red, $50 yellow, $20 green, $10 yellow/orange for and blue. Counterfeit pens do not always work.

Also beware of small denominations of bills. Smaller notes are easier to pass than larger ones. Fake one dollar bills are harder to detect as they do not have security features like the larger ones do, but here is a little trick to determine if you get a fake:

If you have information regarding this crime, contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office at 561-688-4000 or the U.S. Secret Service, West Palm Beach Field Office at 561-659-0184.

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David Minsky is U.S. Navy veteran and Tulane graduate who has experience reporting on stories from California, South Florida, and the Deep South. He also won some journalism awards. Email or tweet David with story tips and ideas.
Contact: David Minsky