3OYS: Fake $100 bills circulating around Valley

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

SUN CITY, Ariz. -- All money is not created equal. Turns out, the Phoenix metro area has lots of counterfeit money floating around, specifically fake $100 bills.

According to the U.S. Secret Service here in Phoenix, the agency seizes and processes anywhere from $30-$60K a week in fake money.

One small business owner knows about the counterfeit bills first-hand.

Erica Doyle owns a Sun City business called The Sewin' Asylum, where she sells fabric and teaches sewing lessons.

But recently, when her store had no customers, Doyle says a guy walked in and asked if she had some scissors for sale. "He was clean-cut, never someone that I would ever imagine that would rip me off," she says.

However, getting ripped off is exactly what happened. Doyle sold the guy a pair of scissors and, in turn, he handed her a $100 bill. But before she accepted it, she tested the bill to make sure it was real. "I took the pen and ran the pen over it and it indicated that it was real."

So, Doyle accepted the $100 bill, gave the man his change, and off he went. Except, after feeling funny about the transaction, she gave the bill another test and that's when she learned she had been had. "And I held it up to the light, and instead of seeing Ben Franklin, I saw Abraham Lincoln," she recalls.

It's a trick not many people know about. But since we all handle money, we should. So, if you're ever given what looks to be a $100 bill, simply hold it up to the light and in the top, right-hand corner, you should see the image of Ben Franklin.

Doyle wishes she would have known this tip, but instead, she was ripped off by a clever scammer who pulled a fast one. "The bill was just a little bit darker than it should have been," she says. "But, I took it to the bank and they said it was truly a $5.00 bill that was bleached and made into a $100 bill."

Doyle says she wonders just how many fake hundreds that guy has passed around the Valley. But she does know that she operates a small business, and being scammed out of a hundred dollars hurts. "You know, that $100 can go a lot of places. Paying my bills, paying my kids' piano lessons," she says. "There are a lot of places that 100 bucks can go."

There are many easy ways to determine if a $100 bill and other currency is legitimate or counterfeit. For more information and tips on uncovering fake money go to the websites below: