So my daughter Anna lives in a group house in Harrisonburg with a bunch of other young women. And they needed to pay September’s rent.
On Aug. 30, Anna withdrew two months worth of rent in cash from her bank. The teller gave her eight $100 bills plus a couple of $20s and two $1s.
She DID NOT closely examine the bills the bank gave her to see if any of them appeared odd. (Hey, it was
her bank, you know?) I don’t think I’ve ever examined bills a bank gave me in the bank either.
Anyway, the $100s were with her receipt, in a small white bank envelope, which she stuck in her purse and forgot about it until Wednesday, Sept. 4 rolled around. That was the day the rent was due.
The way she and her roommates pay the rent is a little unusual. They deposit it into the landlord’s account at a different bank (Bank of America), via its ATM. The way the ATMs operate at BOA, you individually feed the bills into the ATM.
The machine accepted five of the $100s the teller had given Anna the previous Friday. But it would not accept the three bills you see on the left. Which left Anna wondering if they are counterfeits.
She has some reason for such suspicion. For one thing, they’re all series 1974, and they are in GREAT condition and unusually crisp for 39-year-old paper currency. The reproduction is pretty darn good (although you can’t tell that from this low-res image). But the bills don’t feel quite right. They lack the substantial feel of the high-rag paper stock the Bureau of Engraving uses. It feels thinner and it crinkles in a abnormal way. They do appear to have red and blue threads in the paper.
She hasn’t yet been back to her bank. “Why not?” I asked her on this past Friday.
She had a decent answer: She didn’t realize until late Wednesday afternoon that the bills might be fake. By then her bank was closed. Thursday and Friday she was occupied with college classes, her part-time job, and an important appointment she had in Roanoke. She had to work Saturday, too. The bank simply wasn’t open at a time when she could get over there.
So she’s going to go there this week and bring this issue to the bank’s attention. Because we’re not certain the bills are phony, I’m not naming the bank.
What do you think? Are they real or counterfeit?
If they’re phony, I reckon Anna’s bank is going to seize them, not give her replacements or a receipt, and deny any responsibility. News reports I’ve read oabout the same thing happening at different branches of the same bank in Richmond indicated that’s their policy when customers return to the bank somewhat outraged, claiming the bank passed them counterfeit money.
In which case, Anna will have to go to plan B. She’s out $300, and she’s pissed, and she has no intention of eating it without putting up a fuss.
Stay tuned. And in the meantime, you might want to demand $20s from your bank.