Counterfeit money is an uncommon yet unfortunate reality. The chances of receiving counterfeit dollar bills are very small, but not impossible. Many incidents have been reported of people unknowingly getting fake money from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and bank tellers.
If you suspect you have been given fake money by an ATM, there are many ways you can verify your suspicions. Compare the bill to another of the same denomination that you are sure is not counterfeit. Closely examine the printing, the patterns, the colors, the text and the feel of the paper. Does it feel and look the same? If so, then the bill is likely not counterfeit.
If you notice any discrepancies, you are likely looking at a fake bill. Hold the bill up to a lamp and look for the verification strip running through it. Is it there? If not, you are surely looking at a fake. If you are still unsure, you can easily procure a special marking pen that will help you verify the bill’s authenticity.
If you suspect your bill is indeed a fake, do not try and spend it. Even though you came by the bill through honest means, trying to spend it is a crime and can get you in serious legal trouble. Even if you claim you didn’t know you were dealing with counterfeit money, you will have a hard time explaining your case to the police.
The first thing you should do if you draw counterfeit money from a bank machine is contact the bank. Most major banks in the United States have 24-hour telephone operators standing by to help their customers deal with problems and questions. Scan the area inside the bank. You’ll likely find the 800 number printed somewhere on or near the ATM machine. If not, flip over your bank card and look for the number on the back.
If you make contact, tell your bank’s representative about the situation in the utmost detail. The bank might also want to contact the authorities, local police or the U.S. Secret Service, which deals with issues of forged and counterfeit folding money.
If you are not able to contact your bank’s representative, call the police and apprise them of the situation. Make note of the time and the location of the ATM or bank. The police might want you to turn in the counterfeit money, or hold onto it and turn it in to the bank the next day.
Whatever you do, do not spend the money. I cannot express how important it is that you do not attempt to pass counterfeit money.
If you follow the correct procedures, you should be able to get your money back without incident. Unfortunately, that is not guaranteed. If you have trouble getting your money replaced, examine your renters’ or homeowners’ insurance policy, if you have one. Many of these policies have provisions safeguarding against counterfeit money, and you may be able to get your money replaced.
Nobody wants to get fake money from an ATM machine. But if you do, you should do your best to be responsible and rectify the situation.