Las Cruces police remind cashiers and others who accept paper currency to carefully inspect incoming cash and utilize a counterfeit money detector to help identify phony banknotes.
LCPD regularly receives reports of counterfeit money that’s already been accepted as currency. Police hope to help educate the public on what steps can be taken to identify fake bills.
The Federal Reserve prints only seven denominations of paper currency in $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. Tips to help differentiate between real and fake currency:
- Compare the feel and texture of the currency to other bills you know are authentic.
- If the currency’s ink or color smears, the bill is likely a fake.
- Look for matching serial numbers. Fake bills often have the same serial numbers.
- Hold the bill to a light. Authentic currency has: 1, a holograph on the face image of the bill; 2, a thin vertical stripe with text that spells the bill’s denomination; 3, a watermark to the right of the portrait; 4, a security thread imbedded from top to bottom on the face of the bill that indicates the currency value.
- Look for color-shifting ink on the numeral in the lower right-hand corner of authentic currency. In all denominations, except the $5, the color should shift from green to black.
- Authentic bills have fine-line patterns behind the portrait and on the reverse-side scene.
- Under ultraviolet glow, an authentic $5 bill glows blue, the $10 bill glows orange, the $20 is green, the $50 is yellow and the $100 will glow red.
If you suspect counterfeit currency:
- Do not put yourself in danger.
- Call police immediately.
- Do not return the bill to the passer.
- Observe the passer’s description, their companion’s description and relevant information such as the vehicle they are in, license plate number, etc.
- Avoid handling the counterfeit note. Place it in a protective cover or envelope until it’s handed over to law enforcement.
- Surrender the note only to a properly identified law enforcement officer.
It’s a Federal crime to make, forge, counterfeit or otherwise create fake currency. It’s also a federal crime to intentionally pass, sell, publish or possess any counterfeit currency. Violations carry the possibility of a fine or imprisonment up to 20 years.