STOCKTON (CBS13) — Stockton nonprofits have been targeted by someone passing fake bills at fireworks stands in the area.
The vendors say they didn’t realize the cash was bad until they tried to deposit it.
“We take it to the bank and they won’t take it,” said Carmela Yamamoto.
There aren’t hard crime stats just yet, but law enforcement officials say it appears to be a growing trend. Officers say it’s hard to recognize and hunt down these counterfeit criminals.
“We have so many charities in fireworks booths all over the county,” said Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sgt. Lisa Bowman.
Fireworks booths in particular are vulnerable targets. They’re staffed mostly by volunteers who work the registers for only a week out of the year. Booth volunteers do have counterfeit-detection pens to hopefully curb criminals.
“There’s a good swipe and it stays yellow so that indicates it’s a good bill. If it wasn’t it would be a darker tint,” said vendor Kim Howard.
They even study samples to recognize what a fake looks like.
But if the counterfeit cash gets by them, it’s not just the nonprofit that’s victimized, but the people they serve.
“You don’t have that kind of money,” Howard said. “It’s a nonprofit. You’re doing it for children.”