How to spot counterfeit money, The holidays and down economies are prime times for counterfeiters. Think you've got a bogus bill on your hands? Here's how to tell.

Millions in fake currency
There's no shortage of cash circulating throughout the economy -- about $824 billion, according to a University of Wisconsin study. But a good chunk of that cash may not be on the up and up. $64 million counterfeit currency,

Counterfeit currency is a problem that just won't go away, despite the increased use of credit and debit cards and e-payment technologies. Whether it's a street hustler passing off bogus $10 bills or professional counterfeiters dealing in stacks of $50 and $100 bills, fake currency has the full attention of the U.S. Treasury Department, the FBI and the Secret Service. united states treasury department, +penalties counterfeiting money,

But, as the Secret Service points out, the American public has a significant role to play in uncovering counterfeit currency. Small-business owners and retail cashiers should be trained to examine and identify phony bills -- but the truth is that anyone can learn to spot a piece of counterfeit cash.

Following are some tips on how to get a handle on bogus bills. They're relatively easy to learn and can turn you into a sharp-eyed spotter of counterfeit currency. history of counterfeiting money in america, +Famous Counterfeit Cases,
Light it up
The Secret Service advises taking any questionable large bill and holding it up to bright lighting. If it's a good bill, you'll see a hologram on the face-up side of the bill. Ideally, both of the images should match up perfectly. Looking through the light should reveal a thin vertical strip that tells you more. In the photo here, a genuine $100 bill is held above a counterfeit one. thin vertical strip with text that spells out the currency's denomination, how to spot counterfeit coins,
Look for changes in color
The U.S. Treasury offers this tip. Take any $10, $20 or $50 note and move it back and forth. You should notice a number in the lower right-hand corner. If the bill's good, you should be able to see a shift in these colors. bill number color will shift from green to black,
Go ultraviolet
An easy way to tell if a bill is authentic is to hold it up to ultraviolet light. Each denomination glows in its own color. Find out what they are:

* $5 bills
* $10 bills
* $20 bills
* $50 bills
* $100 bills

If the bill doesn't appear as described above, you're holding a phony one. $5 bill glows blue. $10 bill glows orange. $20 bill glows green. $50 bill glows yellow. $100 bill glows red,
Play the numbers
An authentic bill has serial numbers that are cleanly spaced and printed in the same color ink as the Treasury Seal. With a fake piece of currency, the numbers may not appear as evenly spaced and may have a color different from that of the Treasury Seal. what is a marked bill,
What to do
The U.S. Treasury has some advice if you encounter a phony bill:

1. Keep the bill in your possession but get a good description of who gave it to you and where. how to report counterfeit currency,

2. Write down the license or any other available identification number of the passer of the bill, if possible.

3. Contact your local police department or the Secret Service.

4. Place the counterfeit bill in a safe packet or envelope.

5. Do not accuse or otherwise engage the bill passer. Leave that to the authorities.

If you own your own business or handle cash as part of your job, it's a smart move to buy an ultraviolet light or counterfeit detection devices. Most business supply stores carry them; you can also buy them online.

Handling counterfeit cash isn't a game. If you suspect you possess a bad bill, take into account the person who gave it to you and call the authorities. Let the law enforcement professionals handle the rest. +most commonly counterfeited denomination $20,

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