Which Authorities to Contact if You Receive Counterfeit Money

by Amy Nutt

Have you ever thought you received counterfeit money? Perhaps you have received it before and you weren’t sure who to contact. If that has ever happened to you or you are afraid of it happening to you, you can now rest assured that you’ll know what to do if it does. Counterfeiting money is such a problem that currency seems to be constantly changing to deter counterfeiters. However, it seems that counterfeiters find out a way to duplicate currency soon after new ‘counterfeit proof’ methods are developed. Just because a new look comes out doesn’t mean it is impossible to receive a counterfeit bill.

On the retail side

If you work in a retail establishment and a customer hands you a counterfeit bill, don’t return it to them. You want to contact a supervisor as soon as possible so that the supervisor can assess the situation and verify that the money is counterfeit. Retail establishments usually have special counterfeit money detector pens that are used to mark money to ensure that it is real. The counterfeit money detector pen leaves either a clear to light brown mark on the currency if it is real. If it is fake then the mark may show up as extremely dark brown or black.

After the supervisor determines that the money is fake, the supervisor will then take the money away and will contact the police. The police will arrive and do what they are trained to do to confirm that the money isn’t real. They will then take care of matters from there by filling out a report and taking the fake money as evidence.

On the consumer side

Consumers have also been known to receive counterfeit money from banks and retail establishments. You may even receive a counterfeit bill at a yard sale. Anywhere money changes hands holds the potential for counterfeit money. If you find that you have received a counterfeit bill, don’t give it back to the person that gave it to you. Call the police immediately. If you give it back, then you are running the risk of the money ending up back into the currency pool. This could eventually get someone into trouble, but calling the police immediately will keep anyone from getting into any type of trouble. They will assess it, determine it to be fake, and they will then take it with them to bag as evidence.


Money has very distinguished markings. In the case of the U.S. dollar, there is a small plastic strip that is inserted into the bill. It is on your left side when looking at it. You can also look for watermarks or even invest in one of those detection pens so that you can check your money to ensure none of it is fake. You can also look at it to see some of the tiny little fibers in the paper. They are usually red and blue. The paper also has a certain texture to it.

If you notice that the texture seems off, fibers are missing, the watermarks are not watermarks at all, or the plastic strip is missing, call the police. Even if the plastic strip is missing, check all of the other features. Sometimes children get a hold of money and remove the strips, but this can usually be determined by seeing a slight tear where the strip would normally be. By looking at these things, you are able to determine whether or not you have actual counterfeit money in your hand and, if you do, you now know what you have to do to get the problem taken care of.

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