GENTRY -- Some local residents have fallen victim to counterfeit currency circulating throughout Northwest Arkansas, prompting local police to investigate these crimes.
Gentry police chief Clay Stewart spoke with reporters on Friday, May 19, to offer advice on identifying these counterfeits and protecting yourself. According to Stewart, the Decatur police arrested someone who purchased a car using counterfeit $100 bills. Decatur police were called and began an investigation, leading them to other scam victims, including a gas station and a local beauty salon. Similar scams were also discovered in Tontitown.
How did these counterfeits come about?
"It's actually movie production money," said Stewart." It feels like and looks like the real deal except the wording."
These bills were purchased from online market websites that sell movie memorabilia, such as eBay or Amazon. These props are only used during filming.
How can residents protect themselves?
"It actually says on the face 'motion picture purposes' in big letters," said Stewart. "And then on the backside, it says, 'In props we trust.' It's a movie prop."
Residents can protect themselves if they "pay attention and read the wording on the bills."
Criminals capitalize on their victims' lack of awareness, hoping they'll glance at the bills without examining or questioning their authenticity.
The police department has alerted the Gentry Chamber of Commerce which, in turn, alerted local businesses of the counterfeit currency circulating in the area.
It should be noted that these counterfeits aren't limited to $100 bills. Other denominations, such as $20s, can also be counterfeit.
If anyone attempts to pay using these bills, residents should contact their local police department. Gentry residents may contact the Gentry Police Department immediately by calling dispatch at 479-736-8400.