TRADERS and shoppers are being warned to beware of counterfeit $100 notes being circulated, especially in Mornington.
Detective Senior Constable Jason Hocking, of Somerville CIU, said a Caucasian man, aged 30-40, unshaven and wearing a COVID-19 mask, had been passing the “high quality” notes in the town: one on 31 January, one on 3 February, five on 9 February and three on 11 February.
He said the notes had been used to buy items at shops in Main Street; at the IGA Supermarket at Mount Martha, at Woolworths, Mornington, and at the Homemaker Centre on Nepean Highway.
The man, said to be adept at avoiding CCTV cameras, made multiple small purchases for, say, $5 and then collected $95 change. It is only when traders go to the bank that the ruse is discovered: the slightly oversized notes do not fit into branch money-counting machines.
Mornington Chamber of Commerce’s Alex Levy is urging traders to be vigilant, saying the notes “look slightly different to real $100 notes”.
“It’s pretty rare to have a customer paying in cash at the moment (due to COVID) and usually it’s for a small purchase, like $5, then they receive the change,” she said.
“Please ensure all your staff are aware, and let them know what to look out for. Also, be careful not to put yourselves at risk by accusing someone or approaching them.”
Anyone suspecting they are in possession of the fake notes is urged to contact Detective Senior Constable Harry Simpson, at Somerville CIU, 59781300.