Ten campus stores will no longer accept $100 bills, and all paper money will be checked regularly due to the recent increase of counterfeit bills circulating on campus said university officials.
The University Corporation, which manages several stores on campus, enacted new policies in late 2005 after various stores received fake bills. TUC would not specify the exact number of incidents that occurred on campus.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Dave Nirenberg, director of commercial services for TUC. “I find that it’s in spurts, it comes and goes.”
The latest counterfeit incident was reported on Dec.15, said Christina Villalobos, Public Safety spokesperson, in an e-mail.
The incident occurred at the Mercantile Exchange at the University Student Union, Villalobos said.
The person tried to purchase school supplies with a counterfeit $5 bill, Villalobos said, adding the individual did not know the bill was fake.
The incident, along with other cases, was sent to the U.S. Secret Service, she said through e-mail.
Police will respond to anyone using counterfeit bills, even if they use them without realizing, Jay Adams said, general manager of the Sierra Center.
The new policies and extra security will hopefully reduce the counterfeit money problem, Adams said.
“We had a rash of fake $5s and $20s last semester,” Adams said.
Before the policies were implemented, $5 bills were usually not checked said Jill Averez, English and philosophy major, and cashier at the bookstore
A bank notified TUC it had five fake $100 bills in a deposit made in one week last semester, he said, adding that the incident prompted TUC officials to no longer accept $100 bills.
“They must have been good ones (because) we check them by holding them up to the light to find the strip and using the marker,” Adams said. “Someone would’ve caught them.”
Additional eyes and ears could help apprehend individuals who try to distribute counterfeit money as real.
“We’re watching,” Nirenberg said.
TUC increased security by installing surveillance cameras in Geronimo’s, the Pub Bar and Grill, Burger King, Subway, Freudian Sip, La Tienda, West Side Store, the Mercantile; and the Exchange.
Silvia Torres, freshman political science and deaf studies major, who is a supervisor at the Matador bookstore, said the store still accepts large bills and inspects all the money it receives.
She said the bookstore dealt with a counterfeit incident about a month and a half ago.
“There was a fake $10 bill that we exposed as being fake,” Torres said. “We gave the bill back to the student and told him to retrace his steps, especially if he got it from a bank. We are cautious of all bills.”
The bookstore checks $5 through $100, she said.
“We check the bill and let you know its fake and that you can’t use it,” said Avilez. “Depending on the situation and what our?direct manager says, the campus police department could be called and they will come in and ask you questions.”
“I try not to let anyone go away hungry,” Adams said. “I deal with situations individually and we have the campus police department if we have to (call them). One incident with a $20 bill last semester, I let the customer come back the next day to pay me.”
If an individual does not know the bill in their possession is fake, nothing should happen to the individual, Villalobos said.
Students could protect themselves against using counterfeit bills by educating themselves on what the bills?should look like Villalobos said.
Yohanna Figueroa can be reached at Yef71686@csun.edu.