New $20 Bills Suffering Early Problems
WASHINGTON - The newly redesigned colorful $20 bills that went in to circulation Oct. 9 and were touted by the federal government to have been designed to stem counterfeiting, are already running in to problems as consumers are finding out that the new bills aren't working at automated payment machines, in particular self-service checkout counters at grocery stores. Many vendors are advising customers to trade their new $20 bills for older bills before using the machines. It also hasn't taken counterfeiters long to try to pass fake $20 notes. Incidents were reported in and around Brockton, Mass. that people tried to pass fake notes at a convenience store, a restaurant, and a Radio Shack, according to the Brockton police department. According to the Secret Service, only one bill in 10,000 is illegitimate, but widespread access to digital printing technology has made counterfeiting easier in recent years. In 2002, the federal government seized about $130 million in unused counterfeit notes. Almost $44 million more was retrieved from circulation, and nearly 5,000 people involved were arrested.