Counterfeit money: What to look for, how to protect yourself and your business


Businesses across the United States can fall victim to the use of counterfeit money, but small businesses are most at risk. Research by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners states companies that employ fewer than 100 employees lose an average of $155,000 due to fraud each year.

Judice Inn manager, Kenneth Fournet says just this Friday, the restaurant was notified by their bank that they had received a counterfeit note.

But John Brooks, an employee of Carpe Diem in Lafayette, says their business never had an issue with counterfeit money at all.

Either way, both businesses say they take certain preventative measures. According to the U.S. Currency Education Program, the best way to see if a bill is real is to do four things:

  1. Feel the paper: It should feel slightly rough from the printing process and the composition of the paper.
  2. Check with light: A security thread and a watermark should be visible for $5 bills and higher.
  3. Tilt the bill: For $10 notes and higher, the ink in the numbers on the lower right corner change from copper to green. The $100 bill has images of bells and hundreds that move when you tilt the note. 
  4. Check with magnification: Micro-printing is featured in several locations on $5 bills and higher. Small red and blue security fibers will be visible embedded throughout genuine U.S. Currency paper.

If think you’ve received a counterfeit note, immediately notify local police. Try to remember what the person who gave you the money looks like and if possible, write down their license plate number and vehicle description. Then, store the suspected counterfeit apart from real money and give to law enforcement authorities as soon as possible.

For more information on different note identifiers click here.

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