Counterfeit money tends to be more prevalent in the summer, Durango Police Department Detective Alex Hutchison told business owners Friday.
Festivals in summer tend to increase the use of cash, he said.
Hutchison said businesses that handle money should use pens that can detect counterfeit money or hold bills up to light to examine the security strips and watermarks. Businesses should pay attention to small bills as well as large ones, he said.
"We see just as many counterfeit $10 bills as we do $50 bills," Hutchison said at the monthly "What's Up Downtown" meeting for local business owners, sponsored by the Central Business District.
Police and businesses such as the Sky Ute Casino Resort are beginning to see more acid-washed money, Hutchison said. The original denomination is washed off and a higher denomination is printed on. On those bills, the denomination on the security strip may not match the denomination printed in large type.
Hutchison told business owners to call police if they receive a counterfeit bill. Ask the customer to remain until police arrive. If the customer leaves, remember what he or she was wearing.
"It doesn't mean that they're guilty," Hutchison said. "They may have no idea it's counterfeit."
Also at Friday's meeting:•A proposal to replace holiday lights on downtown trees with plastic wreaths met some resistance. Business leaders instead suggested replacing the incandescent tree lights with LED lights, which would cost about $35,000. The wreaths cost $475 each.
Business owners discussed raising money to pay for LED tree lights. Roy Petersen, the city's director of general services, is leading the project.
"Having dazzle downtown is really important," said Bob Kunkel, the city's special events and business coordinator. Decorations bring in customers, Kunkel said.
•The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad begins running to Silverton on May 2.
•Karola Hanks of the Durango Fire & Rescue Authority said the Newman Building sustained "significant damage" in the April 5 fire. Hanks urged business owners to clean their furnaces, especially near the railroad tracks, where coal smoke is prevalent.
Authorities are focusing on a gas furnace mounted above the bar at Joel's as a possible source of the fire.
Hanks said the building remains structurally sound.