There is not a single, best way to identify counterfeit money, but there are some ways to help spot some of the more common features of fake currency.
- Look at the serial numbers. If you receive several bills at the same time make sure the serial numbers are not the same.
- Use a pen that detects counterfeit money, but do not rely solely on this detection method. The pens are not 100% accurate.
- Check for the correct security strip located within the currency.
- Check for watermarks located on the currency.
The U.S. Secret Service handles cases of counterfeit money.
"There's always counterfeit money circulating at different points in time throughout the year," said Robert Trumbo, Resident Agent in Charge.
Trumbo is trained to spot a fake. He said technology is making it easier for criminals to manipulate money.
"With the scanners, with the printers, it's pretty evident it's low cost, it's low overhead," he said.
Trumbo said counterfeiting is more prevalent during the holidays and in busy areas.
"They're looking for high volume atmospheres to hide and get lost in the shuffle more or less," he said.
Trumbo said the easiest way to detect a counterfeit bill is to hold it up to a real one.
KNOW YOUR MONEY
Learn more about the Secret Service's counterfeiting investigations
If you still cannot tell the difference, contact police.
Visit www.uscurrency.gov for a complete list of United States Currency security features and familiarize yourself with those features.
Police also want to know about any fake money floating around, and are asking residents to contact their local police department or local U.S. Secret Service office.