How to Spot Counterfeit Money
Counterfeit money is more common than one might think. It comes in all denominations, styles, and colors. Becoming more familiar with United States currency and knowing how to recognize counterfeit money, especially by the quality of printing and paper characteristics, will help protect against the possibility of successful counterfeiters. Counterfeit Watermarks and Portraits.
Two of the most obvious features of a bill are the portrait and the watermark. A counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat. In the 1996, 1999, 2001, and 2003 series, Federal Reserve notes have an enlarged and off-center portrait enclosed in an oval frame; however, the 2004 series notes have an enlarged and off-center portrait without a frame. Counterfeit bills usually have details that merge into the background making it too dark for the naked eye to detect. The watermark, which is the hidden feature in a genuine bill, is located on the right hand side of the bill near the serial number. The 1996, 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2004 series have the watermark, which is a faint image similar to the portrait and is only visible when held up to a light source. The portrait and watermark are vital details in determining the authenticity of a bill. Consistency and Features Embedded in the Paper
Other features of an authentic bill include the paper consistency and features embedded in the paper. Currency paper consists of 25% linen and 75% cotton. Authentic bills have small red and blue fibers embedded throughout the currency paper; on the other hand, counterfeit bills have lines printed on the surface, which are not embedded in the paper. Also, embedded in a genuine Federal Reserve note is a clear, polyester thread. Each vertical thread lists the denomination of the note and is visible only when held up to the light. In addition, each denomination has a unique thread position and a distinctive color in ultraviolet light....