Recognizing Counterfeit Money

In recent weeks, Woodburn has been seeing some counterfeit bills circulating. Due to this, the Woodburn Police Department thought it would be prudent to revisit the topic. Remember, this information is valuable for both businesses and personal transactions. Take a look at the tips below, and visit the source sites listed for photos and illustrations that are helpful.

Anyone who suspects they may be in possession of a counterfeit bill, please contact the local police department and make a report as soon as possible. Here are some easy tips to protect you from financial loss by recognizing counterfeit bills:

  • Feel the texture of the bill; you should be able to feel the raised texture of the ink on a real bill.
  • Compare the bill with another of the same denomination.
  • Look at the printing quality on the bill; real bills will have sharp lines and clear, unbroken borders.  Fake bills may be blurred and dull.
  • Look for colored fibers in the paper; US bills have red and blue fibers in the paper.
  • Check the serial numbers. Real bills will not have matching numbers and the numbers will be evenly spaced and aligned.
  • Check for security features (except $1 and $2 bills).
  • Security thread running from top to bottom with the denomination printed in it.
  • Watermark of the image of the person on the bill.
  • Color-shifting ink visible by tilting the bill (bills post-1996)
  • Security thread will glow under a black light.

Sources:  U.S. Secret Service, "Know Your Money" “How to Detect US Counterfeit Money”


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