How to spot counterfeit money


It would be easy to assume that it is rare to come across counterfeit money. After all, a lot of people rely on …

It would be easy to assume that it is rare to come across counterfeit money. After all, a lot of people rely on credit and debit cards and even cryptocurrency, and go long stretches of time without hitting a dollar or a quarter bill.

But the money is not yet dead. Every week, it seems, counterfeiters make the news across the country.

Police are investigating counterfeit $ 100 bills in circulation in Casper, Wyoming. Counterfeit money has recently appeared in Hartville, Ohio. Counterfeit money was also passed on to businesses in Lubbock, Texas. A local band in Richland, Wash. Received four fake $ 100 bills in their tip pot.

So, yes, counterfeiting is still very present, and if you use cash in your day-to-day life, or even occasionally, it can be beneficial to know the signs of counterfeit bills. If you want to know if your US dollars are real or fake, use these methods.

[See: Best Identity Theft Protection Companies.]

Evaluate the feel of the paper

This observation is based on instinct.

“Most counterfeits are identified by the touch of the paper,” says L. Burke Files, president of Financial Examinations & Evaluations, a company that conducts investigations, risk management and other types of advice in Tempe, in Arizona.

Typically, counterfeit money, he says, “does not have the feel of crisp silver and the raised feel of black ink on the face of banknotes.”

Files, who has been a financial investigator for 30 years, says counterfeit money – in every country in the world – is a problem. He also says that many business owners unfortunately seem to accept – and pass on – bogus dollars knowing they are bogus.

“Like one person told me, it only gets bad when someone doesn’t take it,” Files says.

It’s easy to imagine why a business owner could knowingly pass on a fake ticket. Often times, when a business owner or consumer hands over counterfeit money to the authorities, they are not reimbursed for that bill.

Check color changing ink

The paper money you are holding should change color.

One of the easiest ways to spot a fake banknote is to see if the bottom right corner of the banknote contains color-changing ink, ”says Austin Fain, owner of Perfect Steel Solutions, a roofing contractor in Fort Wayne. , Indiana. Fain says most of the company’s transactions are in cash, and because those cash transactions often represent a considerable amount, he and his employees have become amateur cash experts.

“For all bills except the new $ 5 bill, you can tilt it back and forth and if the number in the lower right corner doesn’t turn from green to black or from gold to green , then you probably received a fake invoice, ”says Fain.

Study the watermark

The watermark is the mark of an authentic invoice, ”explains Fain. “On some banknotes it is a replica of the face on the note and on others it may just be an oval dot. If you are holding the ticket in front of the light, the watermarks should be visible on the right side of the ticket. Make sure that if the watermark is a replica of the face, it matches the face exactly.

Fain adds that if you are holding the note towards the light and there is no watermark or if you can see the watermark even without holding it towards the light, then the note you are holding is probably a counterfeit.

[Read: 6 Predictions for Banking in 2021.]

Look for relief printing

One of the most difficult aspects of an authentic banknote for counterfeiters to reproduce is raised printing, ”explains Fain. “To detect it, all you have to do is run your fingernail slowly and carefully over the note. You will feel note resistance and vibration on your nail because of the ridges of the raised print.

If you don’t feel the vibration or resistance, this is where Fain suggests checking this watermark and looking for ink that changes color.

Use ultraviolet light

You can find ultraviolet flashlights on Amazon and in home improvement and hardware stores, among others.

Place an invoice on a piece of white paper and light them both with your UV flashlight, ”Files explains. “The paper will light up nicely and bright, but not the genuine currency. In addition, the denomination threads will glow a different color for each denomination except the $ 1. Blue for $ 5, orange for $ 10, green for $ 20, yellow for $ 50, and reddish for $ 100. ”

Take out a magnifying glass

What are you looking for on an invoice with this magnifying glass? Micro printing. Files suggests looking at Benjamin Franklin’s necklace on the $ 100 bill. If you have a $ 50 bill, look at Grant’s necklace. Look under the treasurer’s signature on the $ 20 bill and on the $ 5 bill, Files suggests looking at the eagle shield. In these places you will find expressions such as “The United States of America”, “United States” or “E. Pluribus Unum.”

Again, you will probably need a magnifying glass to find them. That those words are there is not exactly a state secret, but the microprinting is difficult for counterfeiters to reproduce.

[Read: The Very Best Ways to Prevent Credit Card Fraud.]

What if you think you have a fake ticket?

The US Department of the Treasury has a few suggestions on their website, including:

Don’t say anything that would put you in danger. For example, yelling at the person who gave you the bill wouldn’t be smart. Besides, what if you were wrong? It could be a unsuspecting consumer who does not know that the ticket is counterfeit.

Do not return the bill to the courier. You’ll want to hang on to that bill and, as soon as possible, contact the police.

Take notes mentally. The Treasury suggests, if it is safe to do so, “watch the passerby’s description – and the descriptions of their companions – and write down their license plate numbers if you can.” The police will probably want to speak to this person.

Contact the authorities. Either contact the police, suggests the Treasury, or your local U.S. Secret Service office.

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How to spot counterfeit money originally appeared on

Update 07/21/21: This story was posted on an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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