Identifying counterfeit money can be challenging and counterfeiters are continually improving their techniques. We want to help you protect yourself from accepting counterfeit money and experiencing a loss. There are several security features on genuine banknotes that you can use to help spot counterfeit money.
Here are some tips on how to identify counterfeit currency:
- Feel the paper: Genuine currency is typically printed on special paper that has a distinct texture and feel. It should feel slightly rough to the touch, not smooth or glossy like regular printer paper.
- Check for watermark: Hold the banknote up to the light to see if it has a watermark. A watermark is a faint image or pattern that becomes visible when you hold the bill up to the light. The watermark should match the portrait on the bill.
- Look for security threads: Most genuine banknotes have a thin, embedded security thread that runs vertically through the bill. Hold the bill up to the light, and you should see the thread with text or a denomination repeated on it.
- Examine the color-shifting ink: Some denominations have ink that changes color when tilted. For example, on the new U.S. $100 bill, the “100” changes from copper to green when tilted.
- Inspect the microprinting: Genuine banknotes often have tiny, intricate text that is difficult for counterfeiters to replicate. Use a magnifying glass, if necessary, to check for microprinting.
- Feel for raised print: On most modern banknotes, certain elements, like the denomination or the Treasury seal, have raised ink that you can feel with your fingers.
- Check for ultraviolet (UV) features: Under a UV light source, genuine banknotes may display fluorescent patterns or markings. Counterfeit notes may not react the same way under UV light.
- Verify the security thread’s location: Ensure that the security thread is in the correct location for the denomination of the banknote. Different denominations may have different positions for the thread.
- Examine the holograms or color-shifting images: Some newer U.S. notes, have holograms or color-shifting images that change when you tilt the bill.
- Be cautious of irregularities: Look for any irregularities, such as blurred or uneven printing, missing security features, or unusual colors. Counterfeiters often make mistakes that can be detected upon close inspection.
- Compare with a genuine note: If you suspect a bill may be counterfeit, compare it with a known genuine note of the same denomination and series. Look for differences in design, size, and security features.
- Trust your instincts: If something about a banknote doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and exercise caution.
If you believe you have received counterfeit money or are unsure about a banknote’s authenticity, contact your local law enforcement for assistance. Handling counterfeit money is illegal, and it’s crucial to report it to the authorities.