12/12/03 03-125

12/12/03 03-125


December 12, 2003   

Subject:           Counterfeit Bills Alert

San Francisco Fraud inspectors are alerting merchants and the public to a proliferation of counterfeit bills that have been circulating in San Francisco.  The bills have been in larger denominations of $50 and $100, but there have been counterfeit $20 bills that mimic the revamped tinted bills.  Police recently arrested a 26-year-old Union City man who had $750 worth of counterfeit bills and who, along with two friends, was circulating the bills in exchange for lap dances at a Howard Street club.


There are ways of learning if the new $20 bill is counterfeit:


·        There is a security thread that runs vertically on the left-hand side of the front of the bill, next to the Federal Reserve System seal, that reads “USA TWENTY.”

·        There is color-shifting ink on the “20” that appears in the lower right-hand corner of the front of the bill.  When you tilt the note up or down the color-shifting ink changes color from copper to green.

·        If you hold the bill up to the light, there is a faint watermark above the “20”, similar to the image of President Andrew Jackson in the center of the face of the bill.  Since the watermark is part of the paper itself, you can see it from both sides of the note.


If anyone receives a bill that is suspected to be counterfeit, turn it over to the police.


For more information, please contact:


Inspector Earl Wismer

Fraud Section