Local woman duped by counterfeit cash is warning others

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A local woman became the victim of a funny money scam and now she’s warning others.

The scammer used bills that look like newer hundreds with the enhanced security features that make it difficult to copy. But, according to IMPD, this is an ongoing problem.

Police said they recently arrested a suspect who was trying to pay for a car with $7,200 in fake bills. He had 85 counterfeit hundreds on him at the time, police said. The bills have the blue stripe to the right of Benjamin Franklin. But the stripe is flat, unlike the fluid stripe on a real bill. For one woman, the clue came too late.

Phyllis Ford was just getting home and out of her SUV when she says a young man approached her, asking if she had change for a $100 bill.

“I went into my purse and got five 20s out and he had this hundred,” she explained.

Immediately after the exchange, she noticed the hundred wasn’t real. It had “For Motion Picture Use Only” printed on it.

“I looked down at it and was like, ‘What is this? I ain’t never seen a hundred dollar bill look like this before.’ So [I] read it and it said ‘For Motion Picture Use Only.’ I turned it over and it had the same thing on the back,” she explained.

According to IMPD, the money is used as a prop. Officers have seen exact replicas going around the city, and in Shelbyville and Kokomo. When used improperly, it’s fraud.

Ford said she pleaded with the suspect after she realized she was being scammed.

“I said, ‘I’m an elderly lady.’ I said, ‘What made you decide you was going to take advantage of me?'” she said she asked.

“‘Well it was done to me, so I just felt like I wanted to do it to somebody,'” she said the suspect responded..

She backed off after she felt she was being threatened.

“He put his hand in his pocket and said, ‘Do you want some of this?’ I’m like, ‘Some of what?’ I had no idea. I didn’t know if he had a gun or not. So I just went ahead and let him have it,” she explained.

Ford is now struggling to pay her bills for the month. She still, however, feels fortunate.

“I value life more than five 20s, ’cause I can easily get that back, eventually,” she said.

According to IMPD, fraudsters will often try passing counterfeit bills at night, because it’s harder to see security features.

Police encourage you to check serial numbers, because if a crook  has multiple bills, often the fake cash has the same serial number.

Click here for more information on security features on all denominations.

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