Beware: Counterfeit money

Any business receiving cash as payment should be aware of counterfeit bills. Once you or your business accepts a fake bill, you own the bill.

Here’s what you need to know:
Large bills like $100’s and $50s aren’t the only bills to be counterfeited. Some counterfeiters use the homeless to spread smaller bills. Many businesses are tricked into accepting these bills because the purchases are so small. Larger bills are typically spent by professionals who are confident and look legitimate

An automatic red flag when spotting fake bills is noticeably blurry borders and blurry printing or text on the bill. Take notice if the bill has finely printed text that isn’t crystal clear

Here’s what you should notice about authentic bills

1) Hold the bill up to a light and look for a holograph of the face image of the bill. Both the holograph and the face on the bill should match.

2) Looking at the bill through a light will also reveal a thin vertical strip that spells out the value of the bill

3) new series bills (with the exception of $5 notes) when tilted back and forth will show a number in the right hand corner as the color shifts from green to black and back to green

4) a watermark will be revealed in an unprinted space to the right of the portrait when you hold the bill up to light

5) when held up to the light, you will notice a security thread running from top to bottom – depending on bill type, to the left or right of the portrait

6) a real bill glows when held up to ultraviolet lights a different color for each denomination

7) there is tiny microprinting on the security threads that say USA + bill denomination

8) portraits contain fine lines to make it harder to reproduce.

If you suspect you have been given a counterfeit bill, be sure to compare the feel and texture of bills you know are authentic with the ones you suspect are fake.

If you think you have received a counterfeit bill, contact the police immediately.

For more information on detecting fake bills, check out this document from the Secret Service: https://www.secretservice.gov/data/KnowYourMoney.pdf