After two counterfeit money incidents occurred on the Mercyhurst College campus recently, employees who handle money have been encouraged to use counterfeit detection pens.
The first counterfeit incident occurred in the spring. Purchasing Clerk and Cashier Corrine Cassa said by the time she realized the $50 bill was counterfeit she was not able to find out where the money came from.
Even if she knew where the money came from, there’s a chance the person who used the counterfeit money had no idea he or she was doing so.
“The person passing it may not even know,” Cassa said. “We’re not accusing anyone.”
The second incident occurred this month. Police and Safety received a counterfeit $50 bill.
Chief of Police and Safety Robert Kuhn sent an e-mail to all staff and faculty to explain the counterfeit incidents on campus and to encourage them to check money with counterfeit detection pens.
Each place on the Mercyhurst campuses that deals with money, such as the bookstore, the athletic department, the C-store and Laker Inn should start using counterfeit detection pens, Cassa said.
“As they bring the money to me, I’m checking to see if they used the pen. If not, then I contact them and use the pen,” she said.
It is the responsibility of each department to provide their own pens. Kuhn said it costs about $40 for a dozen pens.
“A dozen is cheaper than getting taken by a $50 bill,” Kuhn said.
Kuhn said the $20 bill has been the most commonly counterfeited bill in the past because it’s a small amount, which makes it easy to pass around. Now counterfeiters are making fake money in larger amounts, he said.
Kuhn recommends using the pens on $50 bills and higher. Cassa said she hopes Mercyhurst employees check $20 bills as well.
“There are too many $20 bills to check them all,” Kuhn said.
If a college department turns in counterfeit money to Cassa, she will deduct it from their deposit.
“We can’t bring the counterfeit money to the bank,” she said. “We’ll lose out on money. That’s why we use the pens.”
In regard to the two counterfeit incidents that occurred on campus, Cassa said, “I’m hoping it won’t happen again.”
There is a chance that it will, though. According to both Cassa and Kuhn there have been recent counterfeit cases in Erie County. Cassa said she has heard of a few incidents occurring at the casino in Erie.
Therefore it’s important for employees that handle money to take the advice to use the counterfeit detection pens.
“That’s why they were warned,” Kuhn said. “They should use them just to be safe.”