Local Register editor fooled by a $100 bill and it isn’t even April
For a brief moment, I thought it was our lucky day.
Last week my wife Pam found a $100 bill while out for her morning walk.
A hundred bucks, just lying there on Seventh Street in Blue Earth. You sure don’t see that every day of the week.
Turns out, you do. But more on that later.
At first, it seemed like it was a great way to start the day. Of course, Pam suggested we try and find who lost it and return it. But honestly, I am not sure how that would work. You ask 10 people if they lost a hundred dollar bill, well, all 10 would say “sure.”
But after a closer inspection of the bill, it quickly became obvious this thing was a fake. Counterfeit. Bogus. Not real.
It felt funny, not the right paper. It didn’t look right, not crisply printed. The strip of purple ink was just that, not shiny like a real $100 bill.
And then there was this Chinese writing on both sides of the bill, in bright pink ink, that was the actual dead giveaway.
Still, I took it to the bank and like a dummy, asked if it was a fake. The answer was, “Well yeah, don’t you see the pink Chinese letters printed on it?”
It turns out they get a fake bill every great once in a while. They turn them over to the police, they said.
So, my next step was to call Blue Earth Police Chief Tom Fletcher to report that I had a counterfeit $100 bill with Chinese writing on it in my possession. His response was that he had a couple of dozen fake $100 bills with Chinese writing on them in his possession.
People have been finding them all around Blue Earth for the past few days, he said. He had even found several himself while out on patrol. He said his best guess was that someone had a bag full of these bills and tossed them out a car window, as a prank. They were probably trying to get some poor sucker to think he had found a hundred bucks, Fletcher said. (Wait, was that a reference to me?)
And where would someone get a bag full of fake $100 bills? The Internet, of course. That is where you can get anything.
Chief Fletcher said he learned that the bills are supposedly used by Chinese banks to teach their employees how to spot a counterfeit U.S. hundred dollar bill. In fact, he was told the Chinese words translate to something like “For instructional use only.”
So I guess there is somewhat of a distinction in fake money, it seems. These bills are not counterfeit, as counterfeit bills are meant to look exactly like the real ones. These with Chinese writing are fake ones, with a warning on them that they are, indeed, fake. Of course, you need to be able to read Chinese in order to get the warning.
My guess on what the Chinese writing said was “Tough luck, sucker, this thing ain’t real!”
So if you find a hundred dollar bill on the streets of Blue Earth, better take a closer look at it before you head off to spend your lucky windfall. And for sure don’t try and use it at the China Restaurant.