News & Announcements


Posted on: November 19, 2018

Watch for Counterfeit Bills


The Apache Junction Police Department wants you to know that counterfeiters are busy passing fake money! There have been reports that several $100 bills and $20 bills that have been confiscated by a local bank through business deposits. If you see something suspicious here are some ways to check. If in doubt, can bring the bill to a financial institution, or call the police department.

  • Counterfeit money generally feels different than real U.S. currency. They are each made from different things. Real money is more durable and should feel crisp. There is also raised ink that should be noticed when you touch the bills. Real currency is thinner that regular paper.
  • A good way to check a bill if you are suspicious is to compare it to another bill of the same denomination. If you get a $20 bill that you are unsure of, check it next to another $20.
  • Another way to inspect a bill is to look at the printing quality. The real bills have fine detail and are clear without any smearing or blurry images. Use your fingernail to check the neck area on the portrait. You should be able to feel a ridge.
  • Check for watermarks that appear on the image of the person’s portrait on bill. Hold the bill up to a natural light source. A watermark is visible to the right of the portrait. This should be visible when looking at the bill on either side.
  • There is a thin vertical strip of small word that runs up about a half-inch in on the left side of $20 bills. It is also in other areas on other bills. You can see this when you put the bill up to a light.
  • There are pens that can be purchased from an office supply store. These can be marked to detect a color change. Sometimes counterfeiters are able to beat this test; do not rely solely on this pen check.

If you come into possession of a suspected counterfeit bill, do the right thing. The police and federal authorities are not looking to arrest you for it. They will want to question you in order to see if the source of distributing and/or printing the fake bill can be identified. Call your local law enforcement agency, in this case the Apache Junction Police Department. Fingerprints may or may not be available on the bill. Try not to handle it any further until you pass it along to police.

For further information please contact the Community Resource Unit at (480) 474-5442.

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