Be on the lookout for counterfeit money

Posted at 5:12 PM, Jun 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 17:12:04-04

As garage sales are starting to pick up, the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office is wanting to warn residents of counterfeit bills.

The sheriff’s office reports that within the past couple weeks, they have had some complaints where fake money was passed. They say the money looks and feels real, but if you take a close look it will say, “motion picture use only,” on it.

Some tips from the sheriff’s office to determine if the money is fake are:

Color shifting Ink

One of the first things to look for when checking to see whether or not a bill is authentic is to see if the bill denomination on the bottom right hand corner has the right color shifting ink. All denominations of $5 or more have this security feature, going back to 1996.

Raised Printing

All authentic US reserve notes have raised printing. You can see the difference in in depth on the picture to the right when it is magnified. Many times, counterfeiters have a tough time duplicating this kind of printing method

Blurry Borders, Printing, or Text

If you notice significantly blurry borders, printing, or text, it is an automatic red flag.

Red and Blue Threads

If you take a close look at an authentic bill, you will see that there are small red and blue threads woven in and out within the fabric of the bill.


The next security feature to look for is the characteristic watermark. In many of the new bills, the watermark is actually a replica of the face on the bill. In some, it is only an oval spot

Security Thread

The security thread is one of the most distinctive security indicators of an authentic bill.

Security Ribbon (On New $100 only)

The newly printed $100 has an extra security feature. There is a visible blue security ribbon down the right middle of the bill that is 3D.

If you come across counterfeit money, contact your local police agency.