Money counters better than the human eye
Knowing how to spot counterfeit money is a handy skill for individuals to possess, but money counters remain the best way to catch fraudulent currency.
According to the United States Secret Service, there are a number of ways to spot counterfeit bills.
"Look at the money you receive," the organization states on its official website. "Compare a suspect note with a genuine note of the same denomination and series, paying attention to the quality of printing and paper characteristics. Look for differences, not similarities."
One factor to consider is the portrait on the bill. The Secret Service states a real bill will feature a lifelike portrait that stands out distinctly from the background, while a counterfeit portrait is likely to be lifeless, blending into the background.
The material genuine bills are made of is important to note as well.
"Genuine currency paper has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout," the Secret Service states. "Often counterfeiters try to simulate these fibers by printing tiny red and blue lines on their paper. Close inspection reveals, however, that on the counterfeit note the lines are printed on the surface, not embedded in the paper."
Of course, relying on individuals to be able to spot counterfeit money is unpractical. Even if every employee were trained in how to authenticate cash, human error and advanced techniques from counterfeiters would allow fraudulent bills to slip through. This makes cash counters an essential part of catching counterfeit currency.
Cummins Allison money counters use magnetic, fluorescence, ultraviolet and infrared sensors to inspect bills. This way, currency can be counted quickly and the authenticity of money can be guaranteed.
With counterfeit arrests rising by nearly 50 percent in recent years, enhancing the security of the money-counting process makes sense.