How to Detect Counterfeit United States Currency — and What to Do If You Have Any
T hankfully, I have never encountered an experience where I went to pay for something with cash anywhere in the world while traveling — only to be told that the money is no good because it is considered counterfeit.
Currency from the United States is arguably amongst the most popular in the world — at least, when it is strong against other currencies. I remember a point not so long ago where fewer places were willing to accept currency from the United States — even when the money was genuine…
…but what about when the money is fake? Nicholas Wells wrote this article for CNBC about an experience where he handed over a ten dollar bill to a cashier at a laundromat. “She took one look at it and handed it back saying, ‘It’s fake.’”
According to that article, approximately 40 percent of the estimated counterfeit United States currency is outside of the United States; but take heart: approximately one out of every 10,000 bills are fake. Chances are excellent that of the 1.2 trillion dollars in genuine United States currency, the bills you are currently holding are indeed good. You have a much better chance of dying from heart disease or being involved in an automobile accident than procuring counterfeit currency.
Merchants can usually quickly tell if currency is real or fake — but how can you tell for yourself?
For example, did you know that genuine currency paper contains tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout the bill? Also, blurred or uneven features of the money likely indicate that it is counterfeit paper currency.
Write your initials and the date in the white border areas of the suspect note.
Limit the handling of the note. Carefully place it in a protective covering, such as an envelope.
Surrender the note or coin only to a properly identified police officer or a United States Secret Service special agent.
If possible, complete this official form and submit it along with the counterfeit currency only to a properly identified police officer or a United States Secret Service special agent.
Manufacturing counterfeit United States currency in any denomination of five cents or more is a violation of Title 18, Section 471 of the United States Code; and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to 15 years, or both.