Tempe teen fooled by counterfeit bill at garage sale

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It’s not even Friday and people are already gearing up for the weekend.

Garage sale signs are in place around the Valley, but a Tempe teenager has a warning for people holding a sale.

"First of all I would say don't even take anything over a 20 -- red flag, $50 bill, don't even take it," said Nina Ameli, 18.

Ameli said last Saturday a couple gave her a $50 bill for $16 worth of stuff.

"I counted their change and I gave it to them," she said. "They gave me the 50 and I put it in my little box."

Once the couple was gone, the teen took a closer look at the bill.

That's when the "ah-ha" moment hit her.

"The instant I felt it I knew something was wrong," Ameli said.

Ameli and her mom turned the counterfeit bill over to Tempe police Sgt. Jeffrey Glover.

Glover said the $50 bill is extremely dark and the features on the bill don't stand out like they would on a legitimate bill.

When asked what the chances are of Ameli getting her $34 back, Glover said there's a "very slim chance of that happening. We don't have much suspect info to go off of."

Glover said the department hasn't had another complaint like Ameli's so far.

We did find out from a Tucson Police Department spokesperson, their department is investigating similar counterfeit problems at local garage sales.

However, both Tempe and Tucson police departments said they are not experiencing an uptick in this type of crime.

The Tempe teenager is sure the couple was trying to pull a fast one on her.

"They were distracting me with other questions," Ameli said. "By the time I gave them their change it was too late."

To learn more about counterfeit money, log on to the Know Your Money page on the website of the United States Secret Service