The Richmond Police Department has reported an influx in circulation of counterfeit bills – specifically in the form of $10 bills. Three were recently used at a business on West Broad Street. Please be sure to be extra vigilant when accepting cash payments and report any suspected counterfeits to the police department.

This is a good opportunity to review with your staff what to look for when accepting cash if you don’t regularly use counterfeit detector pens.

Comparison Test

The easiest way is to start by comparing the bill to another bill and look for any visible differences

Check the Printing

Blurry borders, printing, or text should immediately send up red flags. Additionally, authentic bills have raised printing so if the bill has a smooth texture it’s most likely counterfeit.

Security Ribbon

Hold the bill up to a light (a cell phone flashlight will work) and look for a thread embedded in the bill that runs vertically and will name the denomination of the bill – for example, “USA 20.” If you have access to a UV light, the thread will glow a different color based on the denomination. The thread location and thread colors are as follows:

  • $5 – Right side. Glows blue under UV light
  • $10 – Right side. Glows orange under UV light
  • $20 – Far left hand side. Glows green under UV light
  • $50 – Right around the middle. Glows yellow Under UV light
  • $100 – On left side. Glows pink under UV light

Color Shifting Ink

Beginning in 1996 all bill denominations $5 or higher utilized color shifting ink in the bottom right hand corner. To view the ink, tilt the bill different angles while examining it.

Serial Numbers

There are two things to look for in checking the serial numbers – the first is if you receive multiple bills, double check that they don’t have the same serial numbers as often counterfeiters will neglect to change the numbers on each individual bills. The second is that the serial number should correspond to the supposed series/run year printed on the bill. For example:

  • E = 2004
  • G = 2004A
  • I = 2006
  • J = 2009
  • L = 2009A

Next Steps

If you suspect a bill to be counterfeit the most important thing to remember is not to put yourself in danger. If you feel safe, confiscate the bill and immediately notify law enforcement for the next steps. Try to handle the bill as little as possible (place it in a bag or enevelope) and write down any distinguishing features of the person who gave it to you.