Amazon, eBay sales of movie prop cash tricking retailers, consumers

Counterfeit cash is easily purchased, Sen. Chuck Schumer warned

New York’s Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer released a warning Friday to retailers about a surge of counterfeit cash heading into the busy holiday season.

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The bills, which are used as props in Hollywood movies, are available for purchase from online retailers like Amazon and eBay, Schumer’s office said in a press release. The New York senator is asking the Internet Association, which represents leading global companies on the internet like Amazon and Google, to team up with the Secret Service to help curb the problem.

“The U.S. Secret Service is doing a fine job publicizing the recent surge in fake cash, via ‘movie money,’ flooding retailers and some wallets this holiday season, but it shouldn’t be a ‘Mission Impossible’ to prevent these faux funds from being passed off as the real thing in the first place,” Schumer said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for eBay said the company has filters in place to prevent items that violate its policies from being listed, in addition to teams actively monitoring the site. It has a page dedicated to how it regulates replica currency.

A spokesperson for Amazon declined to comment, but it also details how it regulates prop currencies.

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In a letter to the Internet Association, Schumer acknowledged that members were “unknowingly” playing a role in the problem.

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The Secret Service had previously raised red flags about counterfeit money, more than $103 million of which has been circulated in the U.S. since last year. There was a 25 percent increase in the circulation of movie money, specifically, which is said to be tricking both businesses and unsuspecting consumers.

Prop cash is the most popular type of counterfeit money because it is easily acquired, according to the Secret Service.

Last month, the Secret Service tweeted out a video to help retailers determine if a bill is counterfeit. Movie money will often have terms like “replica”, for example, printed somewhere on the bill.

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