Counterfeit Currency

As we’ve recently witnessed in the region, counterfeit currency still manages to get slipped into the transaction and banking system.  How can you avoid being a victim? Whether accepting ‘cash-back’ or accepting payment for selling goods or services, it’s wise to be aware of the security features of an authentic bill and to look out for counterfeit bills.

As found on, U.S. currency includes a number of security features that can help determine if a bill is counterfeit or authentic. While there are differences between the denominations, here are a few of the security features to be aware of:

  1. Feel– Currency has a ‘feel’ due to the raised printing on the bill and the cloth it is printed on. Does the bill ‘feel’ like other, known authentic, bills?
  2. Ink– The bell in the inkwell has color-shifting qualities that when tilted in the light, it will sparkle/reflect light.  Also, is the ink smudged, or is it sharp and consistent on both sides of the bill?
  3. Security Thread– Bills include a vertical thread embedded in the bill, that matches the denomination printed on the bill. This thread is not printed but is embedded in the material.
  4. Watermark– Currency has a watermark image that matches the person’s image on the front. Holding the bill to the light will show this.
  5. Microprinting– Looking closely or using a magnifying glass, you can detect small words and numbers throughout the bill. Some can be found in the nameplate, around the frame, or in between numbers.
  6. Basics– Is the bill printed squarely on the material, do the frames match? Does the denomination on the front match the back?

Think you may have a counterfeit?  Avoid unnecessary handling and bring the bill(s) to your local police department.  This will help law enforcement’s investigation and take the bill off the street.