Earlier this month, KTVU reported that the Secret Service had noticed an uptick in fake bills likely produced by offset printing — a process that requires a large press and is regarded as sophisticated. These days, agents are hotter on the trail of the bogus bills, which they believe mostly to be 100s, many or most produced in the Bay Area itself. That's in part because it's here where "the majority" of $5 million in funny money has been confiscated according to reporting from the East Bay Times.
In fiscal year 2012, $4.5 million in counterfeit cash was taken out of circulation in Northern California, with that amount growing to $6.3 million by fiscal year 2015. The sum is about $6 million for 2016, which works out to 10 percent of the total average in confiscated counterfeits across the country.
The Secret Service made six simultaneous raids in February, six in Oakland and one in Stockton. "We've made multiple arrests," special Agent David Thomas told the news outlet. "We did find some evidence, but we're still looking for the manufacturer."
The Tenderloin is one hot spot for fake currency, with Satwinder Multani, the owner of Daldas Grocery at Eddy and Taylor Streets telling KTVU that “This year I see it more frequently.. People coming with the fake 100 dollar bills. So I don’t know where they’re coming from, but this year is worse.” Unfortunatley, the onus to detect counterfeit bill is on businesses like Multani's. Once it's accepted, there's nothing to do: “Unfortunately, it’s like a game of hot potato," gent Thomas told KTVU, "whoever has it last, loses."