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  • Writer's pictureLandvest Staff

Ways of Spotting Counterfeit Money

Since the onset of currency, counterfeiting (or copying) currency has been an issue.

Have you ever been stuck with a counterfeit bill with no way to tie it back to someone? Well, if you haven't, lucky you......if you have, welcome to the club. It sucks! Once you get a grasp of a few things to look for, and put some (cheap) tools in place, the likelihood of a bill getting dumped on you will drastically reduce.

In the event you suspect you are in possession of a counterfeit bill, you need to review the bill(s) carefully. Compare the bill to a bill of the same dollar amount and printing series, that you know to be real.

Several bills have a variety of different features to allow you to determine any discrepancies. Be sure to pay close attention to the printing quality and paper material of the bills you are analyzing. Remember that you are looking for anything that looks different compared to real bills you have for comparison purposes.

Here are some things to consider when trying to identify a bogus (counterfeit) bill:

  1. Does the picture on the bill "pop" off of the background? If so, you are starting off on the right foot. Many of the pictures on counterfeit bills are flat or dull in finish. Many times these are even dark.

  2. Are the logos on the bill sharp and clear? If so, that is a good sign. Just like mentioned on the pictures, if the logos are dull, or even have broken saw points, then you may have a bad bill.

  3. Look at the borders. If they are blurred, or lack clarity, you may have an issue.

  4. The paper should have red and blue fibers embedded throughout. Counterfeiters try to print the red and blue colors in instead of it simply being a fiber. This is a quick way to catch them.

  5. The serial numbers should have even spacing and unique numbers. Simple, if they don't you may have a bogus bill.

In the event that any of these (which is not everything) flags as suspicious, you should invest in an inexpensive marking pen. As I was putting together this blog, a manager reported that he stopped a $100 bill this morning. Something did not seem right, he marked the bill with his market and it flagged as bad. The customer grabbed the bill and exited the store. That $5 pen saved us $100!

Here is some discouraging news. An agent with the Secret Service told me today that there are some papers (used by counterfeiters) that are not flagging as bad when using the marker. Not good! In our business (leasing), we have now had our managers flag any tenant's account that paid with a large bill. This makes the search backwards a lot easier.

Happy hunting!


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