Counterfeiting operations are a major source of problems for governments throughout the world. In the United States, the government is continually working to make the process of counterfeiting money more difficult by using different papers and printing techniques. Although it is impossible to make bills that are completely counterfeit-proof, it is possible to make it harder for counterfeiters to succeed.
Learning To Identify Counterfeit Money
If you primarily use cash to pay for your purchases, it is important to learn how to identify counterfeit money. If you receive counterfeit bills from a store or bank, you may have difficulty spending them at a later date or exchanging them for real bills. At the very least, you will have to take the counterfeit money to a bank and fill out a detailed report so that investigators can try to learn more about where the counterfeit money originated.
Oftentimes, cashiers at stores don’t pay enough attention to the money that they handle. As a result, counterfeit bills can easily pass through their hands and into the hands of other customers. That is why it is so important to keep your eyes open any time you get change back from a store and always examine the material of your bills.
Key Differences Between Counterfeit Money And Real Money
When trying to identify counterfeit money, there are a few key differences that you should look for that can help you spot a fake.
Check The Watermark
Today’s bills have a special watermark that shows up when you hold them up to the light. The watermark should look like a slightly smaller copy of the larger image that is printed on the bill itself.
Look For A Security Thread
Real money has a security thread that has been embedded in the paper itself. You should be able to see this thread when you hold the money up to the light. If you look closely, you can even see tiny text on the thread identifying what type of bill it is. For instance, if you are examining a $10 bill, you should see a security thread that has tiny letters on it reading “US TEN”. $100 bills are even more complex. The security thread on these bills has a special 3-D feature that causes the text to change when viewed from different angles. From one angle, it will show the number 100. From another angle, you should be able to see the Liberty Bell.
A close examination of the print quality should show that the image has crisp, sharp edges without any bleeding.
The Way The Money Feels
Although the physical feel of the money is a bit subjective, real currency feels quite a bit different than currency that has been printed on standard paper. You can’t buy the paper that is used to create real money. Additionally, the ink sits on top of the surface of the paper after the printing process is complete. This creates a very slight texture that you can feel with your fingertips, helping to prove that the bill is authentic.
The images on money are quite complex, with a lot of detail. When you look closely at the printing, every part of the image should be crisp and clear. If the image looks a little bit blurry or if it doesn’t have the sharpness that you would expect, it could be a counterfeit bill.
Check For Colored Fibers
Today’s bills include blue and red fibers that have been incorporated into the paper itself. Because this is so difficult for counterfeiters to replicate, they often don’t even bother trying to include these fibers in their bills. If they do make an effort, they may print small dots in red or blue colors to try to give the same appearance.
Ink That Changes Colors
Interestingly, the ink that is used to print today’s money changes colors slightly when you view it from different angles. Tilting the bill in your hand should cause the color of the ink to change. In the past, this color shift changed from black to green. Today’s bills, however, change from green to copper.
Comparing Bills Side-By-Side
Spotting fake bills is easier when you have a real bill to compare them to. When you get cash back at the store, compare it to a real bill that you already have in your wallet. The bills should look and feel identical without any major variations. Of course, one bill may be slightly more worn than the other. All in all, however, they should be the same.
Identifying Fake $100 Bills
Recently, the $100 bill was updated by the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This bill, which is the most commonly used type of US currency in other parts of the world, was put into circulation in February 2011. This was the first time the $100 bill had been updated since the previous version was released in 1996. Other bill denominations also underwent updates at approximately the same time.
Something interesting that you may not have known is that nearly 2/3 of the $100 bills that are currently in circulation are located in other parts of the world besides the United States. Because of that, it is a popular target for international counterfeiters. Within the US, however, most counterfeiters focus on reproducing the $20 bill.
Extra Security Features In Today’s $100 Bills
Today’s $100 bills are incredibly advanced and incorporate a number of high-end security features that are designed to make them more difficult to counterfeit. Some of the features include the following:
- A security ribbon with a 3-D effect. Look for a blue ribbon that runs across the bill vertically. This ribbon has a 3-D image on it that shifts between the number 100 and an image of the Liberty Bell, depending on which way the bill is tilted. You should be able to see this image change when you move the bill back and forth.
Color Changing Ink. If you look at the bottom right-hand corner of the bill, there is an inkwell with a Liberty Bell embedded inside of it. When you look at the bill straight on, both the bell and the inkwell look copper. When you move the bill to the side, however, the Liberty Bell shifts to a green color while the inkwell stays copper. The overall effect makes it appear like the bell is fading away.
Other $100 Bill Security Features
* A watermark image of the portrait on the bill that can be seen when it is held up to the light.
* A security thread that runs across the bill on the left-hand side of the portrait. This extra security thread is in addition to the 3-D security thread, which can be found on the right-hand side of the portrait. The thread on the left glows with a pink color when exposed to UV light.
* Color shifting ink in the bottom corner of the bill on the right-hand side. This ink shifts from green to copper and displays the number 100. It is much the same as the ink that can be seen on the Liberty Bell that is located in the inkwell.
* A large number 100 printed on the back of the bill. This is intended to help people who have visual difficulties more easily identify the bills.
* Areas of micro-printing located throughout the bill. These tiny printed details are extremely difficult for forgers to replicate.
* The printing on the new $100 bill uses a special intaglio printing method that creates printing that is raised up off of the surface. As a result, you can feel the texture of the printed image when you touch the bill.