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How to spot counterfeit cash

If you've seen any newer $100 bills lately, then you know that U.S. currency looks a lot fancier these days. Most of those improvements have been made to make counterfeiting bills a lot harder. But, some counterfeiters are still finding ways to make convincing money that will pass a casual eye test.

That doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of time or money to spot a counterfeit, though. There are a few simple ways you can separate fakes from the real thing. Some really good fakes have surfaced for sale online from someone calling himself "MrMouse." Here's what you need to know to avoid accepting these bogus bills in the future.

First, you've probably seen a cashier use a counterfeit detection pen that will turn a certain black on fake bills. The problem is, these don't always work. Criminals can trick these pens by using acid-free paper or bleaching smaller bills and reprinting larger ones on top of the paper. But, there are still a few tricks you can use.

"... [T]he $50 bills shipped in this package sort of failed the pen test (the fake $100 more or less passed). However, both the $50s and $100s completely flopped on the ultraviolet test. It’s too bad more businesses don’t check bills with a cheapo ultraviolet light ..."

Simply, shine a cheap ultraviolet pen light through the bill and you should see a yellow security strip to the right of the president's head. Fake bills might have a strip, but it won't look yellow under the light.

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