KINGWOOD, W.Va. — The Preston County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents in the region of a counterfeiting scam that is difficult for businesses to detect.

A release from the Sheriff’s Department explains that an unknown person or persons is “washing” smaller denomination bills in a chemical solution and then reprinting them as larger denominations.

Although the printing process is described as being of “poor quality,” the counterfeit currency is difficult to detect by standard methods of identification.

The pen most businesses use to check currency authenticity is failing because the paper stock is accurate.

However, there are some easily identifiable features and options for anyone who thinks they may be in possession of a “washed” counterfeit bill.

  • Previous watermarks and security strips are visible when held up to a light source, showing the actual denomination of the bills prior to tampering
  • Counterfeit currency will have the texture to normal currency that has been inadvertently placed through a wash cycle in a standard washing machine/dryer
  • Many banks can also verify the actual value of currency through advanced technology

The public and businesses are being warned that there are other “washed” bills in circulation.

Anyone who comes into possession of these bills are asked to contact their local law enforcement agency.

The Preston County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at (304) 329-1611.

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