Bay Area dealing with new wave of counterfeit cash

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A new wave of counterfeit money is cropping up in San Francisco and in other Bay Area cities.  The U.S. Secret Service, which investigates counterfeiting, says there’s been an increase in the number of fake bills produced by a sophisticated method known as offset printing.

“That requires a large printing press, like a one ton printing press you would use to produce a newspaper or magazine,” said David Thomas, Special Agent in Charge for the Secret Service’s San Francisco field office.  Thomas said he expects there to be about $6 million in fake currency to go into circulation in the Bay Area and the Central Valley in 2016.

Satwinder Multani, who owns Daldas Market in the Tenderloin, says coming across counterfeit bills is just part of doing business, but this year, he’s seen a marked increase in the number of people trying to pay with fake bills.

“This year I see it more frequently,” Multani said.  “People coming with the fake 100 dollar bills. So I don’t know where they’re coming from, but this year is worse.”

In addition, Multani says it’s getting more difficult to tell the fake money from the real, and so far this year, he’s already accepted about $200 in counterfeit money.  According to the Secret Service, if a store accepts a fake bill, there’s no recourse for the store owner.

“Unfortunately, it’s like a game of hot potato, whoever has it last, loses,” agent Thomas explained.