By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Karin Tappero has all of her workers on the lookout for counterfeit bills that have been passed at area Twin Cities Patina stores.

“We’re just really, really trying to be very aware of all cash passed to us at this point,” Tappero said. “It appears they are trying to pass $100 bills.”

Three of the eight Patina stores in the Twin Cities have been hit.

Surveillance video from the Patina store on Selby and Snelling Avenues in St. Paul shows one of several people who have been caught on camera passing counterfeit bills.

“It’s in tens of thousands of dollars. I’m sure just in the metro area alone these guys are all over every day. There are multiple people passing them,” financial security expert Scott Nelson said.

Nelson says most retailers rely on a marker to determine if a bill is counterfeit or not.

“The old pens just aren’t cutting it anymore. They are finding ways to defeat them,” Nelson said.

He is telling retailers to invest in a $40 UV pen light that shows the security strip present on all real currency.

“If you take a fake one, there is no strip,” Nelson said.

For now, retailers are spreading the word and telling cashiers what to look for.

“If someone comes in and wants to buy a small ticket candle or a gift bag and they pass over a high increment bill, that is the biggest red flag,” Tappero said.

What they want is the red flags to lead to arrests.

The U.S. Secret Service is also working with retailers to stop the flow of counterfeit money coming into the Twin Cities.

Reg Chapman

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