How to Detect Counterfeit Bills


With the developments that have been made in digital printing, it is now easier than ever to print counterfeit bills that can easily be passed off as authentic to the average cashier and business owner. Due to this increase, it is vital that owners and managers properly train their employees on how to identify these counterfeit bills.

How to detect a counterfeit bill

  • Compare a bill you know is authentic
    What is the texture of the bill that you are suspicious of? Money is made from cotton and fibers, not paper. Regardless of its age, bills should feel crisp and durable. Bills printed on normal paper are easily torn and become soft over time. If you drag your finger over the portrait of the bill, you should feel ridges that are created from the intaglio printing process. How thick is the bill? Genuine dollar bills are thinner than most counterfeit bills. During the process of creating the bills, thousands of pounds of pressure are applied which causes these bills to feel thin and crisp. Try comparing the texture or thickness of your bill to that of a one dollar bill, which is rarely counterfeit.
  • Pay attention to the details
    Did the ink on the bill bleed? Due to the precise printing technique that is used to create money, the lines throughout the bill should be precise.Does the number in the bottom right-hand corner have the appropriate color shifting ink? When you look at the number directly, whatever denomination ($10, $20, etc), the printed number should be a shining copper color. When turned to the side, the color should be less dimensional looking and a much greener tint.Do you see the hidden president? When you hold the bill to the light, you should be able to see a watermark of the president printed in the center portrait on all bills $10 or more.
  • Invest in a counterfeit detector
    For a mere $40, you can purchase a UV counterfeit detector for your register. These handy devices are used to identify that a bill has a security strip. This strip will show USA and the bill’s denomination running vertically across the bill. The security thread is in different locations and glow different colors depending on the denomination of the bill. They can be identified as follows:
    • $5 – Right side. Glows blue under UV light
    • $10 – Right side. Glows orange under UV light
    • $20 – Far left-hand side. Glows green under UV light
    • $50 – Right around the middle. Glows yellow Under UV light
    • $100 – On left side. Glows pink under UV light
      (Fit Small Business)

According to the United States Department of Treasury, anywhere between $70 million and $200 million in counterfeit bills are currently circulating the market. With holiday shopping on the rise, small business owners will start to see an influx of counterfeit bills passing through their business. Considering these facts, it is imperative to train yourself and your employees over these techniques to protect yourself from unnecessary profit losses.

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Written by: Heather Haney

Date: 11/9/16


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