Other Voices: It’s worth it to check for counterfeits

Zac Taylor

A $100 bill remains an extraordinary piece of currency to hold. Even in an age of inflation, a Benjamin still represents some serious dough.
These days, the bill is also a veritable work of art, with various designs, a hologram and textures. Those are there, of course, to make it hard for counterfeiters to work, but it seems locally a few have gotten through to local businesses.
The Powell Police Department has reported three instances of counterfeit $100 bills ending up in the hands of tellers who spotted the fakes in the last two weeks. Unfortunately, the people handing them over to be deposited were people who had been given them as part of a business transaction, meaning these small business owners are now out money.
Thankfully there are ways to avoid getting stuck with a counterfeit bill in the first place. Us.currency.gov offers a number of ways to spot differences.
Security thread: Hold the note to the light to see an embedded thread running vertically to the left of the portrait. The thread is imprinted with the letters USA and the numeral 100 in an alternating pattern and is visible from both sides of the note. The thread glows pink when illuminated by ultraviolet light.
3-D security ribbon: Tilt the note back and forth while focusing on the blue ribbon. You will see the bells change to 100s as they move. When you tilt the note back and forth, the bells and 100s move side to side. If you tilt it side to side, they move up and down. The ribbon is woven into the paper, not printed on it.
Bell in the inkwell: Tilt the note to see the color-shifting bell in the copper inkwell change from copper to green, an effect which makes the bell seem to appear and disappear within the inkwell.
Watermark: Hold the note to light and look for the faint image of Benjamin Franklin in the blank space to the right of the portrait. The image is visible from both sides of the note.
Color-shifting ink: Tilt the note to see the numeral 100 in the lower right corner of the front of the note shift from copper to green.

(This opinion, which originally appeared in the Powell Tribune, but is being reprinted in the Standard because there was recently a report of a countefeit bill being passed at a Greybull business.)