Tips to avoid counterfeit bills

Monday, June 9th, 2014
Summer is almost upon us, and as the warmer weather means the start of garage sale season, it also brings out a rash of counterfeit bills.

Become familiar with how bills of different denominations (particularly $20 notes) look and feel. With advancements in printer technology, it is becoming easier for counterfeiters to produce these fake bills. One of the biggest problems for counterfeiters is the paper, and the first line of defense for you is being able to physically feel the difference between a genuine note and a counterfeit.

- When a bill is handed to you, quickly give it a visual check for security features such as watermarks, and the color and quality of the printing. Keep in mind that older bills may lack some of the security features that you are accustomed to. However, do not hesitate to refuse a bill if you are at all uncomfortable accepting it.

- Be suspicious if someone tries to buy a small $5 or $10 item with a $50 or $100 bill. If someone tries to use a large bill for a small purchase, it may be best to politely tell them you are unable to break such a large bill, and you won’t be able to make change for others if you give it all away. Offer to hold the item while they go get change.

- Consider investing in a counterfeit detection pen. These have an iodine solution in the ink that reacts with the starch in wood-based (counterfeit) papers to leave a dark brown or black mark, whereas on genuine fiber-based currency the pen will show clear or yellow.

You can find more information on the Secret Service’s website. Please click on the links below.
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