Maui News

Hawai‘i Police Report Increase in Counterfeit Bills

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The Hawaiʻi Island Police Department is warning the public about an increase in counterfeit money in circulation. Kaʻū police officers have been responding to numerous calls about fake $100 bills.

Maui Now graphic.

The phony money looks, feels, and appears to be real, with the exception of pink Chinese writing characters on the front and back.

These are training bills that Chinese banks use to train their tellers in counting foreign currency. The Chinese characters translate to read “For Training Purposes Only.”

Police say a counterfeit detection pen will leave a mark on these bills.


Police advised merchants to be cautious, and to use the following methods in detecting counterfeit money:

Locate and read the plastic embedded security thread. It should say “USA” and the bill’s denomination.
Use an ultraviolet light to detect the thread glow color. The $5 bill should glow blue, the $10 bill should glow orange, the $20 bill should glow green, and the $50 bill should glow yellow. In older versions, the $100 bill should glow pink, while the current $100 bill has a 3-D ribbon.
Hold the bill up to the light to check for a watermark.
Tilt the bill to examine the color-shifting ink.
With a magnifying glass, locate and examine the micro-printing.

Citizens and businesses are reminded to treat the fake bill as evidence by placing it into an envelope and to call the police immediately.


Anyone with information on individuals involved in the making or circulating of counterfeit bills are urged to call the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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