Counterfeit money: Can you spot the difference?

Sheriffs in Harris County, Texas, recently arrested a man over a fake $10 bill used a Taco Bell. The suspect claimed his father gave him the bill didn’t budge when the restaurant threatened to call the police. In fact, he requested that they do just that.

The suspect, Syed Ali, was arrested, but he still insists that he never knew he had fake money. He’s now worried his life may be ruined by having the charge on his record. The case gained substantial attention, which prompted the Secret Service to create a video on how others can avoid ending up in trouble like Ali did.

“You should inspect your currency before you like, try to pass it, but most of us don’t,” said U.S. Secret Service agent Marvin Wright.

However tedious it may be, inspecting money before using it could save someone from going to jail unnecessarily. The most common ways to tell if money is counterfeit include:

  • Lack of matching watermarks
  • Ink shifting
  • Lack of raised printing
  • Blurry printing and text
  • No characteristic watermark (authentic bills will have a visible watermark when you hold it up to a light)
  • Wrong serial number

According to Wright, around 1 in 600 bills are possibly fake. Watch the video below as he explains ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of fake money.