How To Spot Fake Money

Learn how to spot fake money so you keep your funds safe. Counterfeit money is made all the time and is passed off as real money. To spot fake money, there are certain characteristics to look for. Counterfeiters cannot duplicate everything on paper money correctly, so it's important to know what to be on the look out so you aren't the victim of fraud. The main areas on fake money to look at are the paper and printing on the bills. Keep your money safe with these tips.

To spot fake money, you will need:

  • Magnifying glass
  • Real money to compare fake money against
  • Counterfeit detector pen
  1. Use a counterfeit detector pen. To determine if money bills are the real deal or fakes, use a counterfeit detector pen. These pens can be bought at large office supply stores and are used by retail businesses to check if the paper money they receive is printed on the correct paper. The detector pens contain a solution of iodine. When real paper money is marked with the pen, no mark appears, but when fake money is marked, the mark turns black. This is the easiest way to determine if the money is fake.
  2. Get a magnifying glass and start comparing real money to fake money. Take a bill in the same denomination, say a $20 bill, as the money you want to compare to determine if it is fake. Use a magnifying glass to look at the border, which should be crisp and unbroken. On fake money, the border may appear broken and blurry. The fine, intricate border is very difficult to duplicate.
  3. Compare the Federal Reserve and Treasury seals. These round seals have what are called saw-tooth edges, which are small, sharp, pointed edges. On real money, these saw-tooth edges are crisp, but on fake money, these points can appear blurry and uneven.
  4. Compare the serial numbers. Use the same bills to compare to see if it's fake and look at the serial numbers. The font style of the real serial numbers is very distinct and the color of the numbers is the same on real money as the Treasury seal on the bill.
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