General lighting information

How To Tell Counterfeit Money – (Protect Yourself From Counterfeit Notes)

How to tell counterfeit money for real, Protect yourself from receiving counterfeit US Dollars

One of the greatest concerns for most cash businesses is how to protect themselves from the losses incurred if counterfeit bills are accepted. Once in possession of fake money it has to be turned in to the appropriate authorities. Trying to exchange them is considered intent to defraud and is a punishable offence that may carry a fine or a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

There are a few methods that can be used to check for counterfeit notes, some more reliable than others. Shop owners should be wary of smaller bills too because not all fakes are in large denominations. Always check even smaller bills like the $10 and $20.


UV money checker

Manual Check of US Dollar Bills

These are the three most difficult things for producers of counterfeit money to reproduce and that you need to check for if you don’t have a UV checker.

1. Feel the paper

The currency of the US is printed on paper that is made from a mix of cotton and linen and feels completely different than paper, even as it ages. The money has a slightly embossed feel from the ink texture which is the result of what is known as intaglio printing. When running a fingernail across the paper the ridges can be felt, whereas money printed on normal paper will feel smooth.

2. Look for the security thread

Every bill has a security thread embedded in it and each denomination has it in a different position running from top to bottom. It may be on the left or the right, but the $100 bill has two and they are visible in light. The first one in the $100 is on the left of the figure of Franklin J. Roosevelt and the second is a three-dimensional strip in blue on the front of the note. When the note is moved the features move in the opposite direction, so if the note is moved vertically they move sideways and they move vertically if the note is moved sideways.

3. Look at the watermark

The watermark is very difficult to counterfeit and is obviously of poor-quality in fake notes. It is easily visible on the right side of each note and matches the portrait on each note. On the $5 bill it is a large “5”.


Using an Ultraviolet (black) light checker

fake money checker

The plastic strip in each denomination bill glows a different color under the UV light and the bill itself will not remain white under the light. The security thread in the $5 should glow blue; orange is the color for the $10, green for the $20; the $50 glows yellow, and the $100 pink.


Buying a UV bank note checker

Banks have sophisticated bank note counters that also check the banknotes for authenticity. These are rather expensive and smaller enterprises can buy some reasonably priced UV checkers that are very reliable. Prices vary from very expensive to reasonable and the most expensive models are not always the best. These are some of the best devices from all price ranges available on the market.

The Kolibri Bishop 2-in-1 Counterfeit Money Detector and Bill Counter with UV, MG and IR Detection This is a reasonably priced detector and has the added feature of being able to detect if bills have been bleached. Easy to use, it counts 1 bill at a time as it also checks them and it has an add mode that helps to keep count. Its compact and lightweight design allows it to be placed near a cash register and Kolibri offers technical support.

Dri Mark Flash Test Counterfeit Bill Detector with Ink, UV and Watermark Flashtest

how to check for fake money

This tiny machine is smaller than a smartphone, fits in the smallest of spaces next to cash registers and is economical. The ink sensor can test bills in less than a second and runs a triple check. The light flashes green and the machine will beep if the bill is fine. The ink test is the most popular because it is the fastest, but it does have the option for a watermark and UV light test. Since it is not battery operated, it is always ready and it also does not require maintenance and bulbs.



Dri Mark Products INC Counterfeit Triple Test Detector, 3X7X3 Inches


This product can be operated with 3 “C” batteries or an AC adaptor and is compact and portable. It detects washed bills and has a powerful UV LED light for detecting the security strip on $5 bills and above. It can detect security markings on all other US documents, cashier’s checks and money orders. It also comes with a Counterfeit Detection Pen. It has powerful LEDs that have a long life.


Safescan 50Ultraviolet UV Counterfeit Bill Detector


The powerful UV lamp has 3X longer lamp life and the reflector gives it extra UV light intensity. This machine is suitable for all currencies and does not only verify banknotes but also credit cards and ID cards.


Drimark UV Light, Counterfeit Bill Detector (UVProPlus-B)

This is one of the best pocket-sized counterfeit bill detectors on the market that can also be kept next to the cash register. The UV Pro can detect bleached bills and if used properly is almost 100% accurate, which is much more than other detection devices. It comes with the 3 AAA batteries and the powerful UV LEDs last for 10,000+ hours.


What to do in the event that a counterfeit bill is detected

Don’t show any reaction and don’t return the bill to the person.

⦁ Keep them preoccupied as you take note of a few details and if possible, the registration of the vehicle they are in.

⦁ Contact the local police or Secret Service.

⦁ In the meantime write your initials and the date in the white border area of the bill.

⦁ Place the bill in a protective cover until it can be handed over.

Always protect yourself by checking because a passed counterfeit bill becomes your problem.


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