Could you spot a fake $100 bill?

Counterfeits circulating around St. Augustine, police say

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Augustine Police Department sent a warning Thursday after officers said they received reports of counterfeit $100 bills circulating around the city. 

The tweet by police brings to light a good question: Could you spot a fake bill? 

If you receive a counterfeit bill and don't know it, when you try to deposit those funds, you'll be out the counterfeit amount with no replacement.

Downtown St. Augustine is filled with local businesses. Carla McDonald, a bartender at Ancient City Brewing Taproom, said a fake bill, no matter the amount, can really hurt a small business' bottom line.

"If somebody gives us a counterfeit bill, that’s $100 that were losing plus whatever other money we give out to them for change," McDonald said. "So it would put us in a major hole if we did that."

She said they check nearly every bill, even ones that may appear to be brand new.

"So first off, we do check to see if they have the face on them, hold it up to the light like most places do, but then we have these handy little pens just give it a mark," McDonald said. "If it comes out like a yellowish-color, the bill is fine, but if it’s brown or black, dark brown or black, the bill is fake."

McDonald said the fewer counterfeit bills floating around, the better. That's why she and police encourage you to learn how to spot the difference between a real bill and a fake one.

There are some ways to tell if a bill is real or fake. Look for the watermark on bigger bills. When you hold the bill up to the light, you should be able to see the same face on the center of the bill. Also, look for the security thread, which you can also see by holding the bill up to a light.

Click here to learn more about how you can make sure your bills are real. 

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