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How to Detect Counterfeit US Money

How to Detect Counterfeit US Money

When you receive money in large denominations, even from the bank, it is a good idea to inspect the bills to make sure that they are not counterfeit. Whether you are using the money for your business, or you simply want to go shopping, you need to know that you aren’t going to be unwittingly passing along counterfeit money. In most cases, cashiers are going to check the bills themselves, but it is better that you know before trying to spend them before you end up having to explain yourself to store security, and the police. Here are some ways that you can detect counterfeit US money.

By Touch

The first thing you should do is feel the bill. The paper used for money is actually made from cotton and linen fibers, and the feel is a lot different than that of regular paper. The printing process is intaglio, meaning that the numbers are slightly raised. You should be able to feel the ink’s texture on the bill. If you run a fingernail along the bill, you should be able to feel ridges in the printing. The paper should feel thinner than regular paper, and it should feel crisper. Whether the bills were printed 50 years ago or last year, they should feel the same.

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By Sight

The next step is to give the bill a close visual examination. Other printers can’t replicate what currency printers can do, so be sure to look for anomalies such as blurring. Look for red and blue fibers embedded in the paper. If they are not there, or they look like they have been printed on the paper, the bill is counterfeit. There should be clear, crisp borders around the bills, and there should be no bleeding in the ink. Be sure to look at the portrait as well. Counterfeit portraits are dull and blurry when compared to real currency. The portrait should stand out and not look like it blends into the background. When using a magnifying glass, you should be able to see “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” printed on each side of the portrait (it looks like a line without a magnifier). Finally, look at the serial numbers. The color should be right, and numbers should be evenly spaced.

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By Security Features

There are a number of security features to look for on currency. All bills except $1 bills have security thread (red plastic strips) running from bottom to top. These should be viewed with a UV light, and the will glow in different colors for different bills ($5 blue, $10 orange, $20 green, $50 yellow, $100 pink). The bill should always read “USA”, followed by the currency amount, which is spelled out on $10 and $20 bills, and written on $5, $50, and $100 bills. With a light source, you should be able to read the inscriptions from the front or back. It is a good idea for small business owners to have counterfeit detector machines which have special lights. Another security feature to look for is the watermark, which bears the image of the person in the portrait on the bill. It is embedded into the paper, and should be visible from both sides of the bill. US currency also has color-shifting ink. If you tilt the bills, you can see the color in the ink change (this is not the case with $5 bills as of yet).

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If you think that you are in possession of counterfeit money, contact the proper authorities immediately. Either take the money directly to a bank to have it inspected, or take it to the police. Handle the bill or bills as little as possible, and write down any information about the bill, such as the date and location you received it. You will also be required to fill out a report through the Secret Service.

Featured photo credit: TBIT via pixabay.com

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Jane Hurst

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Develop a Millionaire Mindset in 6 Simple Steps

How to Develop a Millionaire Mindset in 6 Simple Steps

We all like to dream about being financially wealthy. For most people though, it remains a dream and nothing more. Why is that?

It’s because most people don’t set their mind to achieving that goal. They might not be happy in their current situation but they’re comfortable – and comfort is one of the biggest enemies of growth.

How do you go about developing that millionaire mindset? By following these simple steps:

1. Focus On What You Want – And Take It!

So many people are too timid to admit they want something and go for it. When there is something that you want to accomplish don’t think “I could never actually do that”, think “I could do that and I WILL do that”.

Millionaires play to win, not to avoid defeat.

This doesn’t mean to have to become a selfish jerk. What it means is becoming more assertive and honest with yourself. You don’t have to grab off other people. There is a big pot of unclaimed gold in the middle of the table — why shouldn’t you be the one to claim it? You deserve it!

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2. Become Goal-Orientated

It’s almost impossible to achieve anything if you don’t set firm goals. Only lottery winners become millionaires overnight. By setting yourself attainable goals, you will get there eventually. Don’t try to get rich quickly — get rich slowly.

Let’s take the idea of making your first million dollars and expand on what kind of goals you might set to get there. Let’s also say you’re starting at a break-even position – you’re making enough to get by with a few luxuries, but nothing more.

Your goal for the first year can be having $10,000 in the bank within a year. It won’t be easy but it is doable. Next, you need to figure out the steps you need to take to achieve that goal.

Always look at ways to make growth before cutbacks. With that in mind, you might want to see if you can negotiate a pay rise with your boss, or if there’s another job out there that will pay better. You might be comfortable in your old job but remember, comfort stunts growth.

You may also have other skills outside of your workplace that you can monetize to boost your bank balance. Maybe you can design websites for people, at a fee of course, or make alterations to clothes.

If this is still not enough to make the money you need to save $10,000 in a year, then it’s time to look at cutbacks. Do you have a bunch of old junk that someone else might love? Sell it! Do you really need to spend $10 on your lunch everyday when you could make your own for a fraction of the cost?

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If you are to become a millionaire, you need to start accumulating money.

Here’re some tips to help you: How to Become Goal Oriented and Achieve More in Life

3. Don’t Spend Your Money – Invest It

The reason you need to accumulate money is for step three. Millionaires tend to be frugal people, and that’s because they know the true value of money is in investing. Being your own boss goes hand-in-hand with becoming a millionaire. You’ll want to quit your regular job at some point.

Stop working for your money and make your money work for you.

Rather than buying yourself a new iPad, that $500 could be used to invest in the stock market. Find the right shares (more on that later), and that money could easily double within a year.

There’s not just the stock market — there’s also property, and your own education.

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4. Never Stop Learning

The best thing you can invest in is yourself.

Once most people leave the education system, they think their learning days are over. Well theirs might be, but yours shouldn’t be. Successful people continually learn and adapt.

Billionaire Warren Buffet estimates that he read at least 100 books on investing before he turned twenty. Most people never read another book after they’ve left school. Who would you rather be?

Learn everything you can about how economics works, how the stocks markets work, how they trend.

Learn new skills. If you have an interest in it, learn everything you can about it. You’d be surprised at how often, seemingly useless skills, can become extremely useful in the right situation.

Start developing the habit of learning continuously: How to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You

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5. Think Big

While I advise to start off with small goals, you absolutely should have a big goal in mind. If you have a business idea, then that is your ultimate goal – to start that business and make a success of it. If you want to invest your way to millions of dollars and do little work other than research, then that is your big goal.

There is no shame in not achieving a big goal. If you run a business and aim to make $1 million profit in a year and “only” make $200,000, then you’re still significantly ahead of most people.

Aim for the stars, if you fail you’ll still be over the moon.

6. Enjoy the Attention

To be successful, you have to be willing to promote yourself and enjoy the attention to a certain extent. Now the attention doesn’t need to be on yourself, it could be on your brand, but attention definitely attracts money.

Never be embarrassed to get your name out there. That means finding a spotlight and being brave enough to step right up underneath it.

If you run a business, try contacting the local papers. You’d be surprised at how amenable they often are to running a story about you and your business, and it’s all free publicity.

Above all, remember: You control your own destiny. Push hard enough for anything and you’ll get it.

More About Thinking Smart

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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