Spotting Counterfeit Bills

Twenty years ago the lack of technology made counterfeiting money a criminal enterprise that did not waste time counterfeiting denominations below a twenty dollar bill. With today’s technology in the hands of everyone, even one dollar bills are being counterfeited. Security features imprinted and inlaid into the money should help someone detect a counterfeit bill if they check it.

Counterfeiters count on having the opportunity to pass their fake money so educating employees and yourself on how to spot counterfeit money will make the criminals mission harder. The federal government has web-sites to help people learn about the security features. Frequent visits to these sites for updated information should be on every managers agenda.

More often than not, smaller bills are counterfeited by juveniles who use a copy machine to make ones, fives and ten dollar bills. With two-sided copiers this process is easier, but the cut out may be a clue that the bill is not real. White edges, miss matched sides, and the back upside-down compared to the front are just a few signs the bill is fake. The biggest clue is copiers can not copy the security features the imprinted strip, the ghost image, and the micro-printing just to name a few.

There is a marker available to test the money as the ink in the marker reacts with true money, but false-positives can be given with this marker. The key to real money is the material used to make it it is not paper, it is cloth. There is a distinct difference in the feel between paper and cloth, but the easiest way to spot real money is by looking at it closely.

Take a bill, any bill, and look at it you should see red and blue fibers in the fabric used. It is a special type of material made specifically for the federal government to make money. If you can not find the red and blue fibers in the material it is probably a fake bill. Some copiers may pick up the color of the fibers but these fibers can not be removed from a fake bill. With real money the colored fibers can be pulled out of the fabric. So, when you find one of the colored fibers, use your fingernail to move it and determine the money is for real.

When ever you handle money, be it taking money as a clerk, or using money as a customer check the money you get from time to time to keep yourself safe from getting/taking fake money.