How to Determine Fake Money from Real Money? 

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Counterfeit money. Fake banknotes. Do they ring a bell to you? They must have landed in your hands or inevitably in the near future. The circulation of fake money has become rampant last year, notably, from January to September where the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) seized a total amount of P480,000 disguised as counterfeit banknotes.

It feels definitely frustrating if this happens to you. So, distinguishing fake money from a real one is the utmost prevention to avoid falling into the fraudster’s schemes. Well, BSP is doing all its best to remove fake money from circulation but what are the chances you might accept fake bills?

Oblivion is not an excuse especially if you have the means to eradicate it. Therefore, we listed down several ways for you to refer in case you encounter fake money and what you must do if you receive one.


Methods to Determine Fake Money from Real Money

There are three inspection-method devised by the BSP which include FEEL, LOOK, and TILT.

1. Feel

You should be able to feel the tactile indications on a note to verify its legitimacy.

Security Paper – The Philippine banknote should have a unique feel, after all, it is made mostly of abaca fiber. It shouldn’t be too silky smooth.

Embossed Prints – The note is embossed so you’ll notice a variety of textures across its surface.

Tactile Marks – Tactile marks are a few pairs of congruent lines on either side of a bill that assist visually impaired people in identifying and distinguishing bills. These marks also serve as proof that your note is genuine.

Read: How to Recognize Fake Receipts

2. Look

You may look at the distinct visual characteristics of a note which might help you distinguish between phony and real money.

Watermark – This is essentially the “apparition” of the bill’s faces. You can see these shadow images on the right side of the note if you hold it up to the light.

Security Fibers – Security fibers are the thin but visible lines that run across the front and back of the note at random intervals. They should be available in both blue and red.

Asymmetric Serial Number – The serial number can be found on the note’s lower left and upper right sides. One to two prefix letters and six to seven numbers should be indicated. The lettering becomes larger and thicker.

See-Through Mark – A shortened Babaylan script may be found in the lower right corner of the note. When you hold the money up to the light, the shortened section of the script will become visible, exposing the whole script which means PILIPINO.

3. Tilt

You can also tilt your money to continue your visual assessment. This will reveal traits that aren’t present on counterfeit notes.

Security Thread – This is the vertical line that runs across the width of the bill on smaller notes like PHP 20 and PHP 50. When you hold your bill up to the light, this line appears. The line appears as a sequence of metallic dashes with the note’s value and the text “BSP” for larger notes, such as PHP 100, PHP 200, PHP 500, and PHP 1,000.

Concealed Numerical Value – A smaller version of the portrait can be found in the upper right corner of the bill. If you tilt the note at a 45-degree angle, you can see the value of the money above the portrait.

Optically Variable Ink (for PHP 1,000 notes) – The money’s value printed on the note’s lower right corner should not only be embossed, but also change color from green to blue when viewed from different angles. This characteristic is not present on a bogus 1000-peso bill.

Optically Variable Device Patch (for PHP 500 and PHP 1,000 notes) – A concealed visual clue is printed on the reflective foil on the left side of the note’s portrait. Tilt your PHP 500 bill to see if it’s a genuine 500-peso bill. A picture of a Blue-naped parrot will appear. The image of a clam with a South Sea pearl appears on the PHP 1,000 note.

Enhanced Value Panel (for PHP 500 and PHP 1,000 notes) – The numerical value on the bill’s left side should include a color-shifting effect for newer notes.

4. Try to Damage the Bill

Wet the paper banknote with some water. If the bill begins to break and the color smudges, it could be a clue that the money you have is counterfeit. Remember that the notes aren’t made of conventional paper, so even if they get wet, they shouldn’t fall apart. Also, make an attempt to scratch the banknote. It could be a fake if the printing smears or exhibits signs of deterioration.


5. Check the Changes in Design

The BSP occasionally introduces new money designs. You should pay close attention to the new aspects and features of the notes in each edition.

The Philippine Eagle, rather than the country’s World War II heroes, will be featured on the PHP 1,000 note in 2022. This new design will only be available on restricted polymer or plastic bills. If you receive a PHP 1,000 bill with the Philippine Eagle that isn’t printed on polymer, it’s probably a fake.

What Should I Do if I Receive Fake Peso Bills?

Fortunately, you can submit it to the BPI which can be done through the steps below.

Identify its Case Classification.

The BSP distinguishes two types of currency claims mainly simple and highly technical.

Simple examples are demonetized currencies and authenticated notes that have been destroyed but still have value. Claims that require an expert’s opinion are classified as highly technical, where counterfeit money is classified.

Visit a BSP office or a branch.

Take your notes and go to the BSP office or branch closest to you. Because your matter is so sophisticated, it will require a thorough examination. As a result, it will be forwarded to the BSP-Quezon City branch’s Currency Issue and Integrity Office (CIIO).

Complete an application form.

Submit your completed application form to the BSP teller. Remember that highly technical matters, such as bogus money in the Philippines, require 20 working days to process from the time the BSP receives them.

How Can I Avoid Fake Money?

It’s crucial to highlight that the existence of false notes in circulation is not solely due to scammers. You may also receive counterfeit money from unwitting friends and customers. Avoid receiving it when attempting to educate someone who has unintentionally handed it to you.

Examine your money as soon as you get it.

Inspect the money using the FEEL, LOOK, TILT approach as soon as your family, friend, or customer hands it to you. Allow no one to pressurize you into accepting the money straight away. Check at least two or more security elements of each banknote you receive, even if you’re in a rush.

If it’s too late to inspect the banknotes, compare them to other bills you know to be real. Using side-by-side comparisons, you should be able to spot the flaws in the false bills.

Ensure that you receive your money in a well-lit environment.

If you look closely, you’ll see that most of the security features on Philippine banknotes are only visible under ideal lighting. As a result, if the setting is too dark and you can’t check the security features, don’t accept the money.

Detect Fake Money with a Fake Money Detector

A fake money detector is essential for business owners and individuals who receive big sums of money from clients. This device employs ultraviolet light to reveal a banknote’s concealed security features.

You may wonder how UV light can be used to detect bogus Philippine currency. The UV light from the money detector will disclose the security fibers in a banknote, which will appear as small neon lights. One thing to keep in mind is that genuine money absorbs UV light, so it shouldn’t appear brilliant or reflective when scanned.

You can check your money even if you’re on the go by utilizing a portable fake money detector. You can get one of these detectors from internet sites, and they usually come with a spotlight or a laser pointer.

Educate your employees on how to spot counterfeit money.

You must train your personnel on how to recognize phony money in addition to providing them with a fake money detector. While you’re about it, teach them how to recognize suspicious behavior in consumers who are passing over allegedly fraudulent money; these customers may be frightened or in a hurry.

As much as possible, move your transactions online.

Carrying out your banking activities online lowers your chances of receiving counterfeit money. It is not only safe but also handy to use your online wallets and mobile banking apps. You can use this approach in your business to eliminate the need for customers to pay you in cash.

Nowadays, people still rely on physical cash, despite the development of digital transactions and cryptocurrencies. Which means there’s always a probability that you’ll receive counterfeit money.

Knowing how to tell the difference between fake and real money will help you avoid falling prey to con artists and fraudsters. Inspection of every banknote that comes your way is, to be honest, difficult and time-consuming. However, it will be worthwhile, and having peace of mind will always be valuable.

Read Also: Stay Safe From Buying Fake Products by Following These Tips


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