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How to Recognize Counterfeit Currency & Prevent Fraud

December 5, 2017

The world’s economy depends on money being real, legitimate, and usable, which is why counterfeit currency is such a serious problem. Regulations are in place to prevent currency fraud in banks, but it is also the responsibility of bank employees to routinely use a counterfeit money detector to screen for bad bills.

Here is some information about how to recognize counterfeit currency and the tools that are used to check for fake money.

Ways to Detect Fake Money in Banks

There are a few different ways that banks and other businesses can protect themselves from fake money in circulation. It’s a good idea to start by looking at the bottom right corner of a bill to see if the color shifts when tilted. For example, the color on a $20 bill will shift to a greenish tint when tilted. From there, you can check to see if the red and blue threads are woven throughout the bill as they should be or if the threads only appear on the surface of the bill, which would indicate a counterfeit note.

There is also a security strip that runs up and down on authentic bills and can be seen when held up to a light. The watermark on a bill can also be seen when you hold it up against a light. This marking should be a replica of the portrait on the note and on the right side of the bill. Other ways to identify counterfeit currency include checking the print and ink quality, using a magnifying glass to view the micro-text, and placing the bill under ultraviolet light.

Using a Counterfeit Money Detector

It is a good idea for all banks and retail establishments to have a counterfeit money detector on hand to test for fake money. These products are readily available in stores and online, and they come in the form of money marker pens, scanners, and UV black light torches.

Marker pens are typically a more affordable option to have in a bank; however, infrared bill and ID screen detectors and also bill scanners offer a more accurate and comprehensive result when fake money is suspected. Much like secure cash-in-transit bags, these are essential supplies that every bank must have readily available.

Counterfeit Money Laws

There are federal regulations and counterfeit money laws in place to prevent currency fraud in banks. The Secret Service was tasked with pursuing money counterfeiters dating as far back as the mid-1800s, and the Counterfeit Deterrence Act of 1992 increased the penalties for making fake money. According to Title 18, Section 471 of the United States Code, possession counterfeit currency is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, 15 years imprisonment, or both. The punishments vary based on what an individual is doing with the counterfeit currency and the denomination being produced.

Expert counterfeiters are very skilled in their craft, and it’s becoming increasingly harder to identify fake money that’s been circulated out in the world. Banks can further protect themselves by comparing suspicious bills to legitimate ones, asking customers to produce a different note instead of the suspicious one, and investing in the latest technology to spot and reject fake money. It is also a good idea to insure your business against counterfeit currency so that you can make an insurance claim for any losses sustained from transactions involving fake bills.

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