June 4, 2014

Though not often, on occasion the Riley County Police Department is made aware of counterfeit bills being used in the Manhattan and Riley County area. In an attempt to prevent you from becoming a victim of fraud, with the help of the United States Secret Service, RCPD would like to offer the following tips.

  • Portraits on bills can sometimes be a dead give-away. On a legitimate bill the portrait should appear lifelike. Often counterfeit bills will appear flat and lifeless.
  • The Federal Reserve and Treasury seals should appear clear and distinct. If they are uneven or blurry, this could be a sign that the bill isn't real.
  • The fine lines that make up the border of a bill should be clear and unbroken. Fake bills will often blur the scrollwork in these borders.
  • Real bills have a distinctive style for their serial numbers. These numbers are also evenly spaced. The ink used on these numbers should match the ink that was used on the seal. 
  • Currency paper has tiny red and blue fibers embedded in it. Close inspection of a counterfeit can show that these red and blue fibers are printed on the paper instead of embedded.

The Riley County Police Department would like to remind community members who handle money to pay attention to all the security features of US currency and when appropriate use a "money pen" to help verify the bill as legitimate. At a quick glance all US paper currency should have a watermark, security thread, and include all of the characteristics listed above.

Most recently bills found in Riley County have had the following characteristics:

  • The same serial number printed on multiple bills.
  • No watermark present on the bills. 
  • Bill did not have an embedded security thread.

For more information visit the United States Secret Service online.