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San Francisco shop owner steps up methods for detecting counterfeit cash

San Francisco shop owner warns of counterfeit cash being passed during holiday shopping season
San Francisco shop owner warns of counterfeit cash being passed during holiday shopping season 03:03

A small business owner in the city's Fillmore Street shopping district says a recent case of counterfeit money has her taking extra precautions during the holiday shopping season. 

One bill was enough for her to buy more equipment and better manage all cash transactions, even though the revenue generated makes up a fraction of all sales. 

"It's a huge concern for us, especially since the season is gonna be really, really busy for us and all sorts of people are gonna be coming in," Chandler Tang said. She is the owner of post.script. in Lower Pacific Heights. The store specializes in unique gifts primarily made by local entrepreneurs. 

"It's crazy! It's another curveball that our small business has to kind of maintain and we have to kind of do what we can to control the situation and have the resources to prevent this," said Tang.

Tang used a counterfeit pen to check a $50 note back in August. Her bank tried one of their pens as well and both gave results suggesting the bill was authentic. But the bank did another check that revealed it was counterfeit. 

So Tang decided to buy two machines to better check currency coming into her store. She now has devices that examine money with UV and infrared detectors as well as the size of a bill. Another resource is a set of maps of common bills from the government that point out important clues to catch a counterfeit note. 

"We have a lot of anxiety of, you know, who's coming in. And in a way, it gives us faith and confidence to receive cash and just to kind of help prevent this," Tang told KPIX. "Definitely a bit overkill, but we're just doing the best we can and creating our own resources and management."

One other way to better track cash transactions is to separate each one so the money can be isolated by customer in case she suspects a note is fake. Months after the incident, the holiday shopping season is off to a good start for Tang. The business is four years old and foot traffic continues to increase, helping her business grow. 

"A lot of our customers you know want to support us and shop small so just continue to support us and I hope that we can help other merchants be cautious," she said. 

To learn more about how to detect counterfeit money, visit the Secret Service website. 

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