Counterfeiters Slide One Past Burger Shop

LA MESA -- For at least the second time in a few weeks, a local merchant has been hit by counterfeiters.
Minh Nguyen, owner of Slides Gourmet Burgers, on University Avenue said one of his clerks inadvertently accepted a $100 bill that turned out to be bogus.
"Now we're out $90 dollars,'' Nguyen said. "That hurts a business.''
Nguyen said he contacted police but doesn't expect to recover his money on this incident.
"There's not much they can do,'' he said.
Last month, Cosmos Coffee Cafe on La Mesa Boulevard was hit by counterfeit $20 bills that looked and felt good enough to fool counter clerks who were already warned about counterfeiting. Cosmos had earlier been hit by bogus $50 bills. In fact, that store has stopped accepting any bill over the $20 denomination, a fact that whomever is passing the bogus bills was apparently aware of.
Merchants are training counter clerks to hold bills up to the light and look for the subtle printing techniques the U.S. Treasury has added to bills to help combat counterfeiting.
But in this printing arms race, the counterfeiters continue to get better. This may be a war that only ends for good if merchants require all purchases with credit and debit cards -- not a likely move in the immediate future.

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Tags: Counterfeit, La Mesa Today, La Mesa business, La Mesa news, La Mesa newspaper, Slides Gourmet Burgers

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Comment by David Stanley on August 5, 2014 at 9:41am

"cruising along" is the problem. I agree, "Education is the key". All, or most, stores and businesses, for their own protection DO educate their clerks and, in reply to Batman, it should take no more than a few seconds to examine a suspect bill, or any bill. Waiting customers are more important than the loss of a lot of money? I would rather have them wait an extra 10 seconds in line rather than count up my hundred dollar losses at the end of the day. Most clerks are conscientious but a few "cruise along" then blame someone other than themselves. Business owners are ultimate responsible and must get rid of the "cruisers" or better educate their staffs.

Comment by Kevin G George on August 5, 2014 at 9:25am

Although I have sympathy for the business owners and the position they are being placed by the immoral behavior of others, I find it very annoying that my currency would be refused at their establishments. I am holding a $100 bill that says " This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private".

It seems to me that the onus of responsibility for the legitimacy of the bill should be upon the business, not the customers for having the audacity to use legal tender.

Again I realize that this situation is not the business owners fault, but then again, it isn't the customers either. I am a businessman and businesses connotes risk, being a customer does not. 

We all pay in one way or the other for the immoral acts of greedy individuals. But I am not willing to give up one more tiny freedom because of them.

If my $50 or $100 bill is refused will I leave the shop in search of change? No I will move on to the next business willing to accept the risk.

Comment by Batman on August 5, 2014 at 7:56am

How much time should a clerk spend examining each bill when customers are waiting in line for service?

Comment by Karen Whitney on August 4, 2014 at 7:24pm

It would be helpful to give us all some specific things to look for - the hologram of the face, the tiny blue ribbon, etc.  Not all clerks are 'gullible' or just 'cruising along'.  Education is the key.

Comment by David Stanley on August 4, 2014 at 6:32pm

I am amazed at gullible clerks who, without thought, accept blatantly bogus bills. There are several very effective tests to determine whether they are real or phony and finally, posting a placquard advising customers "NO BILLS OVER $20 ARE ACCEPTED" is an excellent deterrent for those hundreds that continue to pop up. Wouldnt you say? Far less profit in producing false twenties than hundreds but far easier to find the clerks who just cruise along because its not their business.

Comment by Batman on August 4, 2014 at 11:17am

I would think the time and effort it takes to produce a convincing counterfeit bill could just as easily be used to earn an honest living. I'm amazed how hard some people will work to make an easy buck.

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