Local authorities are again alerting the public about counterfeit currency floating around.

New York Mills Police say they recently arrested a Utica man after he allegedly passed counterfeit money at a local gas station. Officers were called to the Cliff's Local Market on Commercial Drive after a customer paid the cashier with what police say was a phony $50 bill. Ultimately, a description of the man and his vehicle was given to police and shortly thereafter he was pulled over, police said. That man, 32-year-old Rafael Morales of Utica, was found to be in possession of three more fake 50's, police said. He's been charged with a misdemeanor count of possessing a forged instrument in the third degree.

Last week, Oneida City Police were warning the public about bogus money going around. Those particular bills had words 'Copy Money' written on them in small print that police said could be used to tip-off potential victims.

In the New York Mills incident, police tell WIBX the bills had several clear indicators that would raise a red-flag about their authenticity. First, there was no security thread (that thin embedded strip that you can see running from top to bottom, if you hold it up to a light). Second, there was an issue with look of the watermarks. And, these bills 'felt different' that a typical banknote, Chief Bradley Fanklin told us.

Finally, the print on the backside of one of the four fakes 50's that were confiscated was actually upside-down. Another dead giveaway, Franklin said.

Fake 50-dollar-bills confiscated in June 2021 by New York Mills Police (via NY Mills PD)

So why did the cashier accept the bill, especially if it didn't 'feel' right?

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Somehow, when the cashier marked the bill with a counterfeit detector pen, it marked as an authentic banknote, he said. After examining the bill further, store personnel decided to call police.

On Facebook, New York Mills Police advised:

We would like to warn everyone that counterfeit bills have frequently been used over the past few weeks. Please be sure to double check any large currency you may encounter and do not accept anything that you feel may be counterfeit.

Keep in mind, 'large' currency doesn't only mean 50's and 100's. In the alert issued by Oneida City Police mentioned above, the fake notes being passed included 100's, but also fake 20-dollar-bills as well.

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