What to do if you get counterfeit bills

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Credit: New London Police Department.

U.S. Currency has security features in the bills it prints. Find out about those security features here. 

Some quick ways to spot counterfeit bills:

On newer bills of larger denominations the currency amount changes colors depending on the angle you view it from.

  • You can feel the raised printing on the bills.
  • Larger denominations have an embedded holographic strip
  • Banks have marker pens that react to counterfeit bills.
  • Real currency is thin. Fake bills are thicker.

For more info, go here. 

According to the U.S. Treasury, if you suspect a counterfeit note or have information about counterfeiting activity, please report it immediately to the U.S. Secret Service, or to your local police.

For your personal safety. . . PLEASE:

  1. Do not put yourself in danger.
  2. Do not return the bill to the passer.
  3. Delay the passer with some excuse, if possible.
  4. Observe the passer’s description – and their companions’ descriptions – and write down their vehicle license plate numbers if you can.
  5. Contact your local police department OR call your local U.S. Secret Service Office.
  6. Write your initials and date in the white border area of the suspected counterfeit note.
  7. DO NOT handle the counterfeit note. Place it inside a protective cover, a plastic bag, or envelope to protect it until you place it in the hands of an IDENTIFIED Secret Service Agent.
  8. Surrender the note or coin ONLY to a properly identified police officer or a Secret Service Special Agent, or mail it to your nearest U.S. Secret Service field office.

Please Note: There is no financial remuneration for the return of the counterfeit bill, but it is doing the “right thing” to help combat counterfeiting.