Travel agents in the UK warned about fake US Dollars
News has been circulated amongst travel agents about a woman attempting to exchange phoney dollars for sterling; the police in the Cleveland area of the country have reported two cases when this happened. The area covered by the Cleveland police force includes Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Redcar & Cleveland, and they reported that a woman entered an agency in Stockton on Tuesday March 1st with $2,000 and asked for it to be changed into sterling. On this occasion the agency refused and then the woman was reported to have gone to Darlington, where she was successful as they did carry out the exchange.
The dollars looked good apparently and when checked with a currency pen they appeared to be genuine. Police have not named the agencies where the woman took the fake currency, but they have described her as aged in her late fifties or early sixties with dark hair, 5.4ft tall, of medium build and wearing a cream, padded parka jacket, a bright red handbag and red lipstick.
What we can ascertain is that the agency does not seem to be Thomas Cook as they have said it was not their stores that were being targeted. They went on to describe how they have good systems in place, with online verification which they claim allows staff to quickly and easily identify fake notes, in most cases anyway they added. A spokesperson commented that: “We also have processes to return and check large [high value] notes should we be suspicious,” they went on to say that they were fully aware of the reports of the woman attempting to exchange that fake currency. Thomas Cook also pointed out that they preferred not to comment further as this was a matter for the police and they continually retrain staff and have the most up to date equipment in their stores.
Police are appealing for witnesses and any information that could be useful; they can be contacted on Cleveland police 101.