The Ultimate Guide On How To Tell if Money is Counterfeit

When people in the U.S. spend money, they are using currency that has been printed by The Department of the Treasury. When money is created by people who are not legally approved by the government to do so, it is counterfeit or imitation money. People attempt to pass counterfeit money off as the real thing in efforts to purchase goods and services. This fraudulent behavior can also be devastating to an economy by causing inflation. Inflation occurs when a country has such an overabundance of money that it begins to lose its value. This is a common tactic during periods of war. The production of counterfeit money is not a new occurrence. It has been problematic even before the Civil War and is the original reason for the formation of the Secret Service. Today the fight against counterfeit money is everyone's responsibility. People are expected to observe the money that they handle and report any suspicions that they may have. In order to do this, it is important that people learn how to tell if money is counterfeit.

Signs of Counterfeit Money

When cash passes hands, most people don't question whether or not it is authentic or counterfeit. Unless there are glaringly obvious signs that cash isn't what it appears to be, most people take it at face value. Because the people who create counterfeit money go to great lengths to make it look like the real thing, failure to detect fake money can be costly in the long run. Fortunately it is possible to learn how to determine counterfeit money versus the real thing. To do this people must learn to look for differences. In some instances the differences are subtle while in others they may be more obvious. The feel and look of currency paper are both accurate measures of authenticity when it comes to how to tell if money is counterfeit. Currency that is real will have actual fibers that are a part of the paper. The colors of these fibers are red and blue and they are very small. Counterfeit money also appears to have these red and blue fibers, however, upon closer inspection they are not fibers at all, but they are instead printed marks. Serial numbers are also an indication that currency is fake. Genuine currency will have evenly spaced numbers that are the same color as the treasury seal. The serial numbers found on counterfeit money may be a different color and spacing may be poorly aligned or unevenly spaced. When looking at the borders of the note there should be no blurring, instead it should look crisp and clear. The same goes for the Treasury and Federal Reserve seals. If they appear blurry with edges that are uneven and points that are broken and saw-toothed, it is a counterfeit. The portrait on the bill should also meet certain standards that prove authenticity. On a genuine note the portrait will standout and the appearance will be life-like in comparison to the counterfeit which will be less distinct and blend into the background.

Counterfeit Money in Circulation

When addressing the issue of counterfeit money it is natural to want to know how much of it is a part of the US money circulation. Prior to the Civil War in America, approximately one-third of US money circulation was counterfeit. Today the amount of counterfeit money in circulation is significantly less than that staggering amount. At any given time it is believed that the U.S. has roughly $829 billion in circulation. Of this amount there is only three-one hundredths of one percent that is counterfeit. This rather minuscule amount is made even smaller considering that seventy-five percent of counterfeit money in circulation never makes it to the public due to seizures by the government.

What to do if You Find Counterfeit Money

Knowing how to determine counterfeit money is an important skill to have; however, it is equally as important to know what to do with it once it has been detected. It is the law to report counterfeit monies to the authorities immediately upon discovering it. In this case the proper authorities are the Secret Service or the local police department. Immediately the money should be set apart from the rest of one's currency. This means placing it into an envelope or a plastic bag. The person who suspects that it is counterfeit should write the date and his or her initials along the border area of the bill. It should be handled as little as possible from this point forward in efforts to minimize the number of fingerprints. A person should never return the money to the individual who has given it to them, and he or she should not spend any portion of it. Spending known or suspected counterfeit money is illegal.