On Sunday, the West Liberty Police Department issued a warning about counterfeit money possibly circulating in the area.
“A large sum of counterfeit United States currency was found in West Liberty [Saturday night],” the department said in a Facebook post. “One hundred dollar bills and fifty dollar bills were the only notes that were located. Local businesses and residents should exercise caution when accepting large bills, including twenty dollar bills.”
The police warned the public to check $50 and $100 bills to make sure the watermarks were present, and to watch for such markings “as Chinese characters, and text that advises the money is fake or for other purposes.”
In October 2017, the Iowa City Police Department issued a warning about counterfeit money of various denominations featuring Chinese characters being circulated. Those fake bills were printed on poor quality paper, with Chinese characters featured in bright red or pink on the front and back.
Those bills are “training money” created to help bank employees in China become familiar with foreign currency. The Chinese characters stamped on the bills reportedly explain the bills aren’t real currency or intended for circulation, but that isn’t much help to anyone who doesn’t understand the characters.
The training money began showing up in the United States in 2016, and reached Iowa by December of that year.
The West Liberty Police Department asks anyone who receives a counterfeit bill to report it by calling 319-627-2223.