How to Spot Fake Currency Notes

There are several ways to spot fake currency notes. These techniques include UV light, Watermarks, and Microprinting. You can also try to compare them with the same series and date. The more similarities you can find, the easier it is to spot a fake. However, you will need to be very patient to spot a fake.


Watermarks are a great way to spot fake currency notes. Typically, a banknote will have a watermark that resembles the face of the noteholder. However, counterfeiters can replicate the watermark by washing the ink off lower-denomination bills and reprinting the same image on the higher-denomination bills.

You can also check for watermarks with the aid of ultraviolet light. These watermarks will glow when the ultraviolet light shines on them. Moreover, a high-denomination bill will have a plastic strip that glows a particular color. The security thread on a five-dollar bill should glow blue or orange. A $20-dollar bill should glow green or yellow. If a $100-dollar bill doesn’t glow, it’s probably a fake. You can also look for watermarks using natural light.

If you notice a fake banknote, place it in a protective cover. This will make it easier for authorities to detect it and will prevent you from losing it or mistaking it for a legitimate note. You can also write your initials and date on the suspect banknote. This will identify you as the person who spotted it.


Microprinting is a common way to identify counterfeit currency notes. Genuine bills feature fine, clear lines and crisp, clear microprinting. In comparison, counterfeit bills often have blurry lines and prints. They may also have different locations and colors. In addition, the color of a bill depends on its denomination. A $1 bill is typically green, while a $20 bill may have a mixture of colors. A $100 bill, on the other hand, will not have any special colors in the background.

One of the easiest ways to spot a fake $100 bill is to examine the microprinting on the bill. These patterns can be seen on the outer borders of the note. You can also look for blurred lines or broken collars on counterfeit bills.

UV light

A handheld UV light is a helpful tool for detecting fake currency. You can use it to identify the color of the security thread, which is commonly located on the back of bank notes. These threads are added to prevent counterfeiters from passing off higher denomination bills as real. If they do not glow, the bank note is likely not real.

Luckily, these UV detectors are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. This makes them a practical option for most businesses. It is especially convenient for small businesses, which often cannot afford to invest in sophisticated security measures. Using this tool can significantly reduce the risk of fraud and protect the bottom line.

Color-shifting ink

To combat counterfeiting, researchers have developed ink that changes colour when exposed to acid and base vapours. The ink contains tiny amounts of fluorophore particles, made from mono-carbazole-linked anthranyl p-conjugates. These particles are invisible to the naked eye but light up yellow when exposed to a commercial ultraviolet light torch. The ink is stable and works well in ambient conditions, although its effect may be limited by its poor durability in a variety of environments, such as high-temperature environments.

This new technique is not yet widely available commercially. The Swiss manufacturer SCIPA has exclusive rights to develop and produce this ink for use on U.S. currency. However, it is highly unlikely that a counterfeit note would shift colors, because copiers cannot reproduce patterns from a fixed angle. This means that a bill made from counterfeit ink is not as easily detectable as one that uses genuine currency notes.


One way to identify fake currency notes is to check their portraits. Real currency bills will feature sharp, centered portraits, while counterfeit bills will have dull or blurred images. In addition, fake currency bills will lack details like raised ink and a raised texture. Real bills should have two serial numbers, which should match the color of the Treasury Seal.

You can also look for watermarks on $5 bills. The watermark is located on the right edge of the bill. A counterfeit $5 bill will have three 5s on its face, not two. This watermark can be easily detected by holding the note to a bright light.

Related Articles

Back to top button