How to Detect Fake Money

We might be using cash less often these days, but that doesn’t mean counterfeiters aren’t still in the business of making fake money. Here are some of the identifying marks to help you tell fakes from the genuine article.

All U.S. currency is made on special paper that has tiny red and blue threads woven into it. You should be able to pull those threads from the paper. If you can’t, it might be a fake. Other features to look for:

• Watermark: Most bills have a watermark copy of the main portrait, though older $5 bills may have a watermark”5” instead of Lincoln’s portrait.

• Color-Shifting Ink: Denominations of $10 and higher each use color-shifting ink in the corresponding numeral. The number 10 for instance, should look like copper when you look at it straight and change to a greenish color when you tilt the bill. The $100 bill also uses this ink for the bell symbol inside the inkwell.

• Security Thread: Denominations of $5 and higher have a thin security thread embedded into the paper, which can only be seen when it’s held up to the light.