The manufacture of counterfeit, or fake, currency is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it has been a problem in the United States since before the Civil War. Although such activity decreased with the establishment of the Secret Service, the act of counterfeiting has never gone away entirely. Today criminals have better, more advanced technology to create believable counterfeit currency ranging from coins to paper money. To combat this the government continues to create and add better safety features to U.S. dollars to challenge and potentially put a stop to counterfeiting altogether. It is not, however, entirely the government's fight alone. In order to win the battle against counterfeit currency, it takes the effort of every consumer. People should be able to recognize fake currency and know how to report it. There are many ways in which people try to pass off fake currency as the real thing and consumers must know what they are so that they can recognize them. Raised notes, for example, are one type of counterfeiting. This is a very simplistic form of counterfeiting that can go unnoticed when people do not pay close attention to the money that they are handling. A raised note is one in which a potential thief glues or otherwise changes the denomination of an existing low denomination bill to one that has a higher value. Once a person learns how to recognize counterfeit money such as raised notes, he or she should then report it to the local authorities or contact the Secret Service.
Paper Appearance and Feel
The color of the paper that is used to make counterfeit money may also be whiter than genuine paper money.
Seals and Serial Numbers
These numbers should match the color and shade of the ink that is on the bill's Treasury Seal.
Check that the serial numbers that are on the bill do not have a ragged appearance, which is also a common indicator that the bill is a fake.
The scrollwork and margins on counterfeit bills are often blurry and less distinct than the original.
The lines that make up the clothing, face and hair should also be clear, easy to make out and free of broken lines.
Images that fade into the background, appear lifeless, or have blurred lines throughout may be counterfeit.
Check that the dollar amount that is written through the Treasury Seal is not less than the denomination that is at the corners of the bill.
Verify that the portrait on the bill is the proper one for the given denomination.
Look for the appearance of cracks, pimples or die marks which appear on counterfeit coins as a result of pouring the liquid metal into molds versus being stamped out by the special machines used in the creation genuine coins.
Compare suspected counterfeit coins against genuine coins to inspect for differences.