How to counter counterfeiters who target lemonade stands

Tom Barlow

Earlier this month, a couple attempted to foist a counterfeit $20 bill on a 10-year-old boy at his Seattle lemonade stand. In Columbus, Ohio, one of my neighbors was stiffed for a twenty at her yard sale. The next morning, another shopper attempted to give her a fake $100 bill.

How can you avoid being taken by one of these crooks when selling band candy, or holding a yard sale, or taking part in other casual commerce?

I asked this question of Jamie Fitch, agent-in-charge of the Columbus, Ohio, Secret Service resident office.

He said, "First, never put yourself in jeopardy." This makes perfect sense to me. Is losing the change from a $20 or even $100 bill worth the risk of confronting a criminal? Before you give in to your anger, consider the danger.