Local News

Fast-food restaurant is battling counterfeit money

Posted October 19, 2011 5:44 p.m. EDT
Updated October 19, 2011 10:50 p.m. EDT

— Counterfeit money has prompted at least one Triangle-area fast-food chain to accept only small bills from customers.

Jason Bryan, who manages Cook Out on Capital Boulevard, said the restaurant's district office put the policy in place three weeks ago after several restaurants reported receiving fake money.

"A couple of us have been hit with these fake bills, and we're just no longer taking anything larger than a $20," Bryan said Wednesday.

Most people cannot tell if a bill is counterfeit. Banks use a special light to examine bills, but small businesses generally don't have that technology.

Instead, they train their employees to use special pens, in which a mark on a bill indicates whether it is real.

But Bryan says it can be time-consuming.

"It's costly," he said "Somebody gets away. They come through with a tray for like $5 or $10, and they (pay with a counterfeit $100 and) make like a $90 profit."

The U.S. Secret Service estimates that less than 1 percent of bills circulating in the U.S. are fake.

It says that, as technology gets better, it also gets more difficult to spot counterfeit bills.

"Some of them have gotten very, very good, where they take actual money, bleached all the ink off it and then reprinted it as a $100 bill," Bryan said.