7 tips for spotting counterfeit money 

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7 tips for spotting counterfeit money 

Counterfeit money has been present since the introduction of the first forms of currency into society. For some time, it was very hard to tell the fake from real, especially as the forgers evolved in their ‘trade’. Fortunately for business owners, now there are machines to detect fake money instantly. But what if you don’t have one at your disposal?

Counterfeit money differs from the original currency in a variety of ways, and if you are familiar with the features of real money, you will be better able to recognize counterfeit banknotes if you come across them.

 Long story short, while counterfeit money is a major threat to businesses, you will still be able to detect whether someone has given you a false bill by inspecting its writing, its colors, and the printing characteristics altogether. There are also a variety of machines designed to identify counterfeit currency, such as counterfeit detectors or scanners.

In this article, we will show you how you can spot counterfeit money and the methods to protect your business. ​

Here is a list of tips on how to spot counterfeit money to help reduce the risk for your business to suffer losses. We chose the American dollar to show how you can spot the differences between a real banknote and a fake one.

1. Pay attention to the serial number

Original serial numbers have a distinct style and are regularly spaced. The serial numbers of the US dollar, for example, are printed with the same ink as the Treasury Seal. On counterfeit bills, the serial numbers may be written in a different color or tone of ink. Furthermore, the numbers may be oddly spaced and fragmented.

Another mistake some forgers commit is copying the same banknote they successfully forged. If by any chance, you get 2 banknotes with the same serial number, you know for sure that at least one of them is fake. 

2. Check for the color-shifting ink

A color-shifting ink on the denomination in the lower right corner of a $10, $20, $50, or $100 bill is another simple way to tell the difference between a fake and an actual one. The bell in the inkwell (placed to the left of the denomination) on $100 bills is likewise printed using color-shifting ink. The denomination and the bell are copper in color, right? Now tilt the bill, and the color changes from copper to green. This one-of-a-kind color-shifting ink was also utilized on certain older editions of these bills, although the color changes from green to black on older designs.

3. Check for the watermark

One of the most visible security elements of a paper banknote is the watermark. When the paper is held up to the light, an image, generally a portrait similar to the one printed on the note, can be seen. The image of the watermark is generated by varied paper thickness, with lighter parts on the mark resulting from less paper.

A watermark is a fantastic security feature. A counterfeiter is unlikely to produce his own paper. Watermarks can be simulated in a variety of methods, but the results are rudimentary.

4. Pay attention to the security thread

When the banknote is printed, the security thread is incorporated. When held up to the light, the vertical security thread is a darker tone line. The security thread rises to the surface at regular intervals, revealing its metallic sheen. Only when held up to the light is the entire thread visible.

One of the most distinct security signs of a genuine bill is the security thread. When you hold a real bill worth $5 or more up to the light, you will notice a security thread running vertically across the bill to the right or left of the portrait.

The security thread on the different denominations will glow under ultraviolet light in the following colors:
• $5 - blue
• $10 - orange
• $20 - green
• $50 - yellow
• $100 - red/pink 

5. Check the characteristics of the paper material and texture

The paper used for currency is made up of 25% linen and 75% cotton. Authentic banknotes also have little red and blue security fibers that are evenly scattered throughout the material of the bill.

Counterfeiters attempt to replicate this appearance by similarly printing red and blue threads on false bills. A close inspection will usually reveal that the "fibers" are just on the surface, indicating that you have a counterfeit on your hands. All Federal Reserve banknotes are made up of paper with security fibers inserted.

6. Better rely on technology? Use counterfeit detector pens

Another method to identify fake notes is the counterfeit detector pen. Retail businesses usually have a large number of cash transactions, so protecting yourself against fake currency should be a priority. Counterfeit pens can be used in just a few moments, helping you quickly determine if large bills are suspect or genuine. All you have to do is drawing an amber line on a note using the counterfeit detection pen to indicate that the currency is authentic, while a black line indicates that it may be suspicious. After application, the amber line fades.

7. Identifying bills with counterfeit detectors

Counterfeit detection has become an issue worldwide as it threatens the global economy and harms consumers. It is not easy for businesses and brands to prevent counterfeits from reaching their customers because it is difficult for companies or security services to identify counterfeits by themselves. This is why counterfeit detectors should be used by all types of companies.

 Counterfeit detectors are designed to spot fake money. For safety and security reasons, all businesses should take into consideration using these machines.

 These machines are one of the most effective techniques to identify counterfeits. The benefits of using counterfeit detectors over hand examination are that it eliminates the possibility of human error when studying bills, but also a decent detecting machine usually takes a second to evaluate a bill and inform you if it is real or not.

The United States dollar, the British pound and the Euro are the most counterfeited bills in the world. As the amount of cash in circulation grows, so does the number of counterfeits spread among businesses.

Our suggestion for counterfeit detection: EDGE DT-800

The Edge DT800 Money Counter is the perfect solution for a fast, accurate and reliable mixed-denomination and multicurrency note value counter. The machine has a counterfeit detection feature that will help your business to remain safe and secure.

EDGE 2 Pocket Bank Grade Mixed Denomination Value Counter Product Details:
 • High-capacity Hopper of 500-notes, Stacker 200-notes and a built-in Reject Pocket 100-notes.
 • Three counting modes CNT (Count Total number of bills), SDC (Single Denominations) and MDC (Mixed Denominations).
 • Adjustable speeds from 800 up to 1200 notes/min under CNT mode, simplifying the handling process and save time. • Easy to use features Auto/Manual count, Add, Batch, Add/Batch, Sort, face and orientation.
 • Multi-Currency Counter Machine pre-programmed to count and sort USD, CAD, MXN, EUR and GBP. It can support most of the currencies in the world (upon demand) and can be installed easily using a USB key.
 • On-screen report to keep track of the count, print and pull out a detailed receipt (compatible with DT50P ACE Printer).
 • Advanced bill counter with counterfeit detectors that protect businesses from counterfeits.
 • Serial Number Recognition and save/print function after each count
 • Two years Warranty (one-year Standard Warranty plus one year free extended warranty) against manufacturer defect & lifetime tech support.

Are you looking for a reliable mixed denomination bill counter?

DETECK is a company headquartered in New York, USA.

Our mission is to create a consistent stream of unique, new products that markedly enhance life at work and home, providing value and innovation that exceed our global customers' needs and expectations. ​ We offer our clients the newest products and innovative solutions introduced into the market each year. Our products are designed to save businesses money and improve efficiency. Our customers care about accuracy, security, convenience and efficiency.

We’d love to hear from you!

Frankly, our customers are the foundation of our company.We have a dedicated U.S. based support team to answer all your product related questions.

DETECK Money Counter EDGE
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DETECK Money Counter EDGE
EDGE DT-800
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The Edge DT800 is the perfect solution for a fast and accurate mixed bill counter, sorter and reader with advanced counterfeit detection.

*Save 5% each on Qualifying items offered by DETECK USA when you purchase 2 or more. The discount also applies if you purchase 2 items of the same product within a period of 3 months. Please contact our support team to benefit from this offer and apply the discount on your next purchase.


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      The perfect solution for a fast, accurate, and reliable counterfeit Detector machine.

      *Save 5% each on Qualifying items offered by DETECK USA when you purchase 2 or more. The discount also applies if you purchase 2 items of the same product within a period of 3 months. Please contact our support team to benefit from this offer and apply the discount on your next purchase.

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      Deteck USA Money Counter HYPE
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      The perfect solution for a high speed and reliable Portable Money Counting Machine, suitable for any paper banknote

      *Save 5% each on Qualifying items offered by DETECK USA when you purchase 2 or more. The discount also applies if you purchase 2 items of the same product within a period of 3 months. Please contact our support team to benefit from this offer and apply the discount on your next purchase.

      • Display Screen: 3 digits (max. 999)
      • Counting speed: Approx. 600 bills/min
      • Counting capacity: 120 old & 150 new bills
      • Size of countable notes: 5x2" (min), 7x4" (max)
      • Counts up to 600 Bills/min
      Remember this device is not equipped with a banknote recognition function:
      • Can only count the number of banknotes.
      • Doesn't provide the total value of the count
      • Doesn't have Counterfeit Detectors