Federal agents urged retailers to scrutinize $20 bills after two banks reported receiving $580 in counterfeit notes from businesses at area malls.
U.S. Secret Service agents collected 17 counterfeit $20 bills that were spent in the Crossgates Mall and 12 bills spent in the Colonie Center mall, Albany-based agent Mike Reilly said Saturday.
The counterfeit bills share serial number G59932516A and G40505143B, indicating the counterfeiters were working together, he said.
Last year, counterfeiting cost the public $13.8 million and the government seized $75.3 million in uncirculated bills, said Secret Service spokesman Richard Adams in Washington.
Retailers who accept counterfeit bills are left to absorb the loss, he said.