Port Charlotte woman ripped off at garage sale by counterfeit bills

A Port Charlotte woman was ripped off at her own garage sale by someone using fake money.

A customer purchased Kelley Doran’s discounted items using two counterfeit $20 bills.

“I just didn’t think much about it and just took it,” she said. “It felt kind of strange but I didn’t put anything together with that. I just put it in my pocket and went and got him change.”

She says two men got away with $33 of her real money. After finally checking her cash box at the end of the day, she finally got a good look at the fake cash.

“It definitely felt like paper,” she said. “It did not feel like money. And you can’t see the hologram, all that type of stuff in it.”

Just down the road from Doran, Pamela Lefforge is hosting her own yard sale and she says she plans to take a closer look at all cash that comes her way.

“I will probably go through the bills and make sure that you know everything looks good before we try to put it in the bank or anything,” Lefforge said. “I wouldn’t want to be accused of printing that up.”

Now Doran is warning others to be on the lookout for fake money.

“I mean, unfortunately we’re living in the world today that you just need to check things out,” she said.

Here’s how you can spot counterfeit bills.

The U.S. Currency Education Program has multiple training materials designed to help you spot fraudulent money.

Below are some tips the department offers that could help keep you from pocketing counterfeit cash:

1. Feel the paper: Move your fingers across the note to ensure that it feels rough as a result of the printing process and the unique composition of the paper. If it’s too smooth, something could be wrong.

2. Tilt the note: When you tilt the bill, you should be able to see the ink in the numbers on the lower right corner change color from copper to green as long as the bill is a newer one and $10 or high denomination. On newer $100 bills, there is also a color-shifting bell in the inkwell and a 3-D security ribbon.

3. Check with light: Hold the bill to a light to check that a watermark and security thread are visible from the front and back. Different bills have different watermarks and security threads, you can see them all here .

For more information on money, you can head to the Federal Reserve FAQ website. 
And it’s important to note that you cannot exchange a counterfeit bill for a real bill.
Reporter:Taylor Petras
Writer:Emily Luft
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