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How to Spot Counterfeit US Dollars

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  1. The easiest way to spot a forgery is to have a currency note that you know to be genuine as a point of reference. Compare the other notes to the genuine one.

  2. Look carefully at the paper. The currency note should have blue and red fibers embedded in the paper. If the red and blue markings appear to be printed on the surface of the paper you should regard it with suspicion.

  3. Look at the portrait. The portrait on a forgery will probably look fairly flat and lifeless when compared to a genuine note. In genuine notes the portrait stands out distinctly from the background.

  4. Carefully examine the serial numbers. Each note should have a different number. Genuine currency has serial numbers that are evenly spaced, on the same line, and in a distinct style. On genuine notes the serial numbers are printed in the same colour as the treasury seal.

  5. Examine the federal reserve and treasury seals. The edges should be even, clear, sharp and distinct.

  6. Look at the border of the note. The fine lines should be unbroken and clear.


This list should not be taken as containing every single indicator. You are advised to obtain literature from the USA Treasury if you handle US dollars regularly or if your exposure to forgeries could be significant.

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For more tips, advice and practical pointers see Fraudproof Your  Business Manual.