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Vendors on alert after counterfeit bills circulated in Ronan


August 2, 2018

Last month, Ronan Police Department issued a public statement regarding counterfeit bills turning up in the area. Often, once the fake bills are found, the criminals move into surrounding areas to try to their scam.

In 2015, First Security Bank of Thompson Falls reported that at least three fake bills had come through the area, sharing that it was a lot for that small town to see.

Ronan Police Department reported that the current bills found in circulation are actually “prop” money, used in movies and sold online. The texture of the paper used in the bills is not even close to real currency, and some of the bills even boast small print reading: “For Motion Picture Use Only” or “This Is Not Real Money.” Some of the bills have corners ripped of to remove the hashed markings declaring the illegitimacy of the play money.

Ronan law enforcement shared that someone quickly taking one of these pieces of paper may be fooled that they are real currency. “Take a moment to look at your money during transactions,” urged the statement from Ronan Police Department.

“We haven’t seen any counterfeit bills come through here in a long time,” said First Security Bank’s Jill Lofthus in Thompson Falls. Lofthus noted that their location now uses TCR machines that are as picky as a soda vending machine when it comes to spitting out bills it doesn’t like.

“A fake bill or bills that are very worn get discarded by our machines for the teller to take another look,” Lofthus explained. “Because of this technology, we aren’t on high alert or anything regarding the reports from Ronan. The people who need to be vigilant are busy cashiers at gas stations and other businesses.”

Lofthus noted that there are many protocols when it comes to dealing with counterfeit money, but only shared that Secret Service offices in Spokane are notified and those agents take it from there.

Usually, large bills uch as $100s and $50s are used in the scams, but Ronan law enforcement reported the criminals have recently been using denominations as small as $5.

For more tips on spotting counterfeit bills and information about the features of legal tender, visit and click on the “Know Your Money” link. To report fraudulent money, call Sanders County Sheriff Office at 827-3584.


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