Have you ever gotten counterfeit money?

My partner and I sold her aluminum boat a few weeks ago for $525. I tried to deposit some of the cash the buyer gave us this morning and found out one of the $50s is fake. We still have a $100 and a $50 at home, which we will take to the bank for examination.

If we discover they are bogus as well, I’m considering suing the guy who bought the boat for the shortage.

Any thoughts?

I haven’t (as far as I know…), but my brother has. He showed me a $5 bill he had gotten that felt pretty legit, but I did immediately notice that it was missing the metallic stripe. Apparently that alone isn’t conclusive, as supposedly some of the early $5 bills didn’t have the stripe, but he did point out that a couple of the subtler anti-counterfeiting measures were also missing.

I knew a chicken was never president.

That’s Ben Franklin. As long as the chicken has small, round glasses it’s legit.


That level anti-counterfeiting is fairly recent (last 10 - 15 years?) and they also changed the size and location of the heads on all of the bills. But for someone to counterfeit 5 dollar bills is probably pretty rare. I think $20s and $50s and $100s are the most counterfeited; probably $20s for petty criminals since it is the most likely to be used in hand-to-hand transactions and not be overly scrutinized.

I’ve never gotten any good phony cash, but back in the days of working in a grocery store, we got a surprising number of photo copies of cash. One time a guy walked into the story, put a $20 on the photo copier, paid 5 cents per copy to make 10 copies, folded the paper and tore them out, and then walked over to the line where his girlfriend/wife was and tried to pay for her groceries.

We once had to fire a cashier for accepting photo copied money.

I used to work in retail, so yeah, all the time.

I got counterfeit money at a rave once. Karma then bit me in the ass because I used it to buy [safe and legal chemical substances] at the same club and got counterfeit [safe and legal chemical substances] that didn’t perform as advertised.

From my training back from my days working a real job: Actually, $10 bills are the most commonly counterfeited because nobody suspects them and they’re of enough value to rack up the profits pretty quickly (which is why $5’s and $1’s are almost never counterfeited). $20’s are the most frequently caught in retail transactions, normally because that’s the level that many retail stores require the use of the “special markers” or at least visual scanning.

That said, if someone paid with entirely counterfeit money, chances are they knew it from the get-go and any personal information supplied to you is bogus. [IANAL]You’d certainly wait to bring a complaint against them in small claims court if they refuse to compensate you, but chances are you’ll win a default judgement against a mystery person. If you know or are at least still in touch with the person, go to his bank with him and have him withdraw the cash in front of you and then hand it over. Otherwise, get your boat back.[/IANAL]

Before you even attempt to do that, however, you’ll want to contact the Secret Service, who is in charge of investigating counterfeit money (the bank may have already done so, but likely didn’t provide any identifying information regarding the suspect) and file a report through them. If you still have good contact info with the person you tried to sell the boat to, provide that. Even if the person unwittingly passed along the bills, they’ll want to know where he got them from so they can eventually track it to the source.

Hahaha. I find that very funny for some reason.

That he was at a rave? I agree.

I had a counterfeit US quarter ($0.25) that I got in change at a 7-11 about five years ago. The year on it was 1963 or something, and apparently they came into circulation via SE Asia in the early 60s – back when a quarter was really worth … something. The thing looked fine, but it sounded all wrong.

I’ve never been stung harder than that, though. I hope that 50 is the only bad one! Maybe you can track down the boat and drill a hole in the bottom of it.

Yeah, a fake $50 is surprising. Those are always going to get scrutinized by cashiers. Makes me think the guy knew it was fake and is going around buying stuff off CL with bogus cash and turning around and reselling the items. It would be a lot easier to launder the money this way than by getting a store to accept it.

I saw a counterfeit $100 in NY - they had sanded down a $5 bill and reprinted a $100 on it. Passes the pen test, but you could see Lincoln’s portrait on the see-through plus the security strip read $5.

The pens are nearly useless, it’s just iodine. If you counterfeit onto starched printer paper then it will turn color, but you would have to be an idiot to not feel the difference between real money cloth and starched paper. The pens likely do more harm than good.


I used to see it all the time when I worked at the bank, but never in personal transactions. Would see it most of the time in the deposit bags from business deposits.

When I’m suspicious a bill might be counterfeit, I always do the Litmus Configuration on it just to be safe.

I gots me a $5 bill right here where ole Abe Lincoln wearin’ a turtleneck sweater!

Did you fuck it?

Am I that transparent? I just like the way the beard sits on the top fold…