A Northside business owner says someone is passing fake $100 bills around the neighborhood.
One of the shops is Casablanca Vintage on Spring Grove Avenue.
"A guy came in and said he was looking for a sweater for his grandma,” said Casablanca Vintage co-owner Tim Willig. "My employee helped him. He picked out the first sweater that he showed him, and said 'Oh yeah. This is perfect.' Then he paid with that,” Willig said, referring to what appeared to be a $100 bill.
But, that bill is hardly worth the paper it’s printed on. It was a fake, but still passed the employee and the counterfeit pen test. The bill looks and feels real, but is still missing some small, important pieces.
"The strip on it's not real. None of the pieces reflect. It doesn't have the security strip if you hold it up to the light,” Willig showed FOX19 NOW.
FOX19 NOW spoke with an investigating Mark Porter who is the special agent in charge for the Secret Service in this area. He says, at this point, he doesn’t know the size and scope of the counterfeit scheme, but did explain that an uptick in this type of crime does tend to happen around the holidays.
Porter told FOX19 NOW that Willig’s story is a familiar one.
Porter explained that it’s a real piece of currency, likely a dollar bill. The bill is bleached and reprinted with a goal of getting cash in return.
The person who passed the fake $100 bill bought a sweater at Casablanca Vintage priced around $20, and getting about $80 back in return.
Willig says his store isn’t the only one that’s been duped.
"I've heard of at least three or four other places just in the neighborhood that have had them, and then a few places in Over-the-Rhine,” Willig said.
Willig said he will turn the bill into police, but not before warning other business owners to be careful, and extremely cautious.
"Hold it up to the light is the easiest thing. It takes two seconds. Better safe than sorry,” he said.