Separate fake $20 bills turned up at a Cedar Key Marathon Gas food store Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Thursday morning the Cedar Key Police Department posted a picture of one of the phony $20s on the Cedar Key Fire Rescue Facebook page to bring awareness to area businesses.
“It’s very plain on the $20 bill that it says ‘copy money’ and there’s no signature in the lower left where you normally see the Treasurer of the United States signature,” said Cedar Key police chief Virgil Sandlin.
Another indicator of the phony currency is on the front right side of the bill and the back side banner that reads “The United States of America” actually says “The United States Copy Money,” Sandlin noted.
The first fake bill was accepted at Marathon Jiffy Food on Tuesday night and the second one emerged Wednesday morning, said Marathon Gas manager Michael Hancock.
“I found it when I was counting the money for my deposit,” he said.
Hancock pointed out that you can buy these fake bills in bundles on Amazon.
“It’s absurd, if you ask me,” he said. “You can buy this copy money in stacks just like what the government hands out.”
In both instances, the fake money was given to the cashier when there was a line in the store and the cashier failed to use the money marker scanner to check if the bills were legitimate.
“What this person or persons does is wait until there is a line of customers and (the cashier) and catch them when they are really busy,” Sandlin said. “I can understand if a clerk has eight people in line and is passed three $20s to mask (the fake). To be perfectly honest, if someone paid me with a $20, I wouldn’t even look at it.”
Hancock, who said it is easy for new cashiers and older cashiers to get frazzled when stores get busy, emphasized the need to follow business protocol.
“We just need to make sure people use their money markers,” he said.