I have a couple of other longer posts going on but I wanted to share this little tip with you because it’s one that can save you a lot of money, for real.
I’m not so sure how used you are to detecting counterfeit money.
In Spain, I’ve been handed funny money IN A BANK, without the employee realizing it unitl I told her, so I suppose that at least there, people aren’t used to it.
Point is -> economical crisis -> people need money-> some genius realize they can “make” money.
So sooner or later you start seeing a lot of counterfeited money. Some is better made than other, but this will probably become a problem in due time.
After our 2001 crisis, it happen after a few months, about a year.
It already happened before teh crisis, always had some funny money around, but after the crisis you noticed an increased number of it. There was a lot of fake money around, even fake coins. (someone made a killer there, since it was very hard to tell the fake coins from the cheapo post crisis coinage)
Inexpensive gadget that can save thousands ( literally!)
I started carry one of these ultraviolet LED lights. Not this particular brand, but one similar in terms of function.
Just lighting it over the bill would quickly tell you if the money was either fake, real, or maybe a good copy. I’m saying this because other things must be checked to before you can tell it’s not fake, but the light helps a lot.
I must say, I don’t carry one of these any more, and use the space for a real LED flashlight.
Why? Because after years of this, I humbly must admit that I got good at telling funny money form the real one. But don’t get too cocky, don’t think you can tell the difference too just because you think you be able to. Wait until you’ve detected about 50 counterfeit bills give or take( in actual exchanges and in payments at the cash register) before you can claim that.:) Better to be humble than loosing 100 bucks.
Now, things to look for, besides the light:
What to Look For:
1) Overall feel, the paper, the graphic quality. I’ve found fake money that had ugly quality paper. Not quality fake money, but in a rush you might not notice. Even with a home printer they can do this low quality counterfeit, so take a breath when you have money in your hand, and look at it well. Do not rush.
I remember once, I found a bill that was wrong since I first had it in my hand? Low quality and obviously fake but something else, What was it?.. After comparing it with a real one it was clear that it was 1/10 smaller. :)
2) The ink used. A real USD bill will leave a mark when rubbed against white paper ( the darker numbers)
3) The water mark. Don’t just make sure it’s there, make sure it has all the detail. I once found a fake dollar that had the watermark portrait, but with much less detail. It was hand make. Good detail, but not enough. Fake. Some look like drawn by a 5 years old, others a real work of art, making the bill probably more valuable than the real deal. :)
4) The vertical strip. Only noticeable when looking through the bill with a light in the back.
This should not only be there, but have numbers in it. I once found one that was a simple black strip inside the paper. Fake.
5) Look at the shiny ink marks, the one that sparkles a bit, it should be clearly defined, and not messed up a bit.
6) The numbers, the ones that change color when you look at it at a different angle, it should clearly change color.
7) Last the paper. Touch it, look at a lot of real paper bills trough light. The paper money is printed on is special, has a number of marks, a texture, that is different from ordinary paper.
These are basically the things I look for in money. I’m sure I’m forgetting some and there are others too, but check these, with the light to help, and you’ll avoid most counterfeit money out there.
Seems like a long list now that I look at it, but once you get used to it you check all these things in seconds.