Making and passing counterfeit currency is a multimillion dollar industry. With inexpensive inkjet printers and computers it is an easy business to get into. Almost anybody can print fake money. Retail associates are not properly equipped to recognize fake bills and most often the bills are not identified as fake until they reach the bank.
Many retailers depend on counterfeit detection pens to check larger bills at their cash registers. These pens are not the best way to catch counterfeit bills. The pens use iodine to react chemically with the starch found in papers made from wood pulp, but real money is not printed on paper made from wood pulp. You swipe the pen across the bill and if it the iodine reacts with starch the mark will turn black and identify the bills as fake. If the mark remains yellow or clear the bill is genuine. This will catch the amateur who prints money on an inkjet printer with cheap paper, but it will not catch the professional counterfeiter who can obtain high quality cotton paper that does not use starch. Another way to get real paper to print bills on is to bleach (“wash”) smaller bills then use the resulting blank paper to print a larger bill. Pens can also be fooled by using hair spray or fabric softener to coat fake bills. counterfeit pounds
There are many better solutions. The easiest and cheapest solution is to train associates to identify a fake bill by holding it up to the light and looking at the watermark. All US bills have a watermark of the face on the bill to the right of the printed face. The watermark face can be seen by holding the bill up to bright light or sunlight. The face on the watermark must match the face on the bill. Another inexpensive solution is a ultraviolet detector.
Placing the bill into the ultraviolet detector will quickly identify fake bills. Also available are hand held flashlight type ultra violet detectors. One more option is an automatic bill detector. These run around $300 and you simply place the bill into the machine at the point of sale and it checks the bill and feeds it back to you.
If you identify a fake bill do not return it to the customer. Retain the bill and call local authorities. If this is not possible then try to remember a detailed description of the suspect and their vehicle and report the crime to law enforcement. To attempt to pass a fake bill on after you accept it is a crime.
Relying on a cheap counterfeit detection pen to identify counterfeit money is not going to work. There are much better ways to protect yourself from fake money. Put a plan in place today and train your employees on how to protect your business.