Owners of small businesses should be aware of the numerous ways to detect counterfeit money. The methods below have been provided by the Secret Service to detect counterfeit bills:


Hold a bill to a light then look for a holograph of the face image on the bill. The two images should be a match. If a $100 bill has been bleached, the hologram displays an image of Abraham Lincoln, who is featured on the $5 bills rather than Benjamin Franklin.


If you look a bill through a light, you will also see a thin vertical slip that contains text spelling out the denomination of the bill.


It is also important to pass some tips as provided by the United States Treasury:


Color Shifting Ink:

Hold a new series bill except for the $5 note and then tilt it forth and back. You should notice the numeral located in the bottom right-hand corner as its shifts its color from green to black and then back.



If you hold up a bill to a light, a watermark should be visible in an unprinted space on the right side of the portrait. You can see the watermark from either side of the bill because it isn’t printed but rather imbedded in the paper.


Security Thread:

To view the security thread, hold the bill up to a light. You should see a thin imbedded strip that runs from top to bottom on the banknote’s face. The security strip is located to the right of the portrait in the $50 and $10 while in the $100, $20, and $1, it is located just to the left of the portrait.


Ultraviolet Glow:

If you hold up the bill to an ultraviolet light, the $5 should glow blue; the $10 should glow orange; the $20 should glow yellow, while the $100 should glow red – if they are actually authentic. In short, counterfeit detectors are the easiest way to check bills.



You will find some minute microprinting on the security threads: “USA FIVE” is written on the thread of the $5 bill, “USA TEN” is written on the thread of the $10 bill, “USA TWENTY” is written on the thread of the $20 bill, “USA 50” is written on the thread of the $50 bill, while “USA 100” is written on the security thread of the $100 bill. Microprinting can be found on the security threads as well as on the portrait.


Fine Line Printing Patterns:

Very fine lines are added behind the portrait as well as on the reverse side scene designed to make it harder to reproduce.



Compare the texture and feel of the paper with other bills that you are sure are authentic.


If you believe that you have received a counterfeit bill, you should do the following according to the United States Treasury:

–           Delay the passer with an excuse whenever possible

–           Don’t return the bill to the passer

–           Don’t put yourself in danger

–           Observe the description of the passer along with that of his/her companions and note down their vehicle license plate numbers if possible.

–           Get in touch with the local police department or the local Secret Service office

–           Write your initials and date in the white border area of a note you suspect to be counterfeit

–           Avoid handling the counterfeit note. Place it inside a plastic bag, protective cover, or envelope for protection until it reaches an identified Secret Service Special Agent. You can also choose to mail it to the closest Secret Service office.


Keep in mind that if a counterfeit bill is passed to you, it becomes your property. So, when you accept cash, it is always advisable to be knowledgeable of the crime of counterfeiting.