Counterfeit $100 Bills Get Nabbed

Counterfeit hundred-dollar bills are being caught in some states. Be aware!

Photo by Luz Bratcher for
Photo by Luz Bratcher for

In New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Illinois police and media have reported the seizure of fake $100 bills. These bills are hard but not impossible to detect. Apparently they are made of genuine paper currency, which counterfeiters have altered with a chemical wash or bleach. They then use a sophisticated color printer to apply a $100 image onto the paper.

This “washed” money turned up at the Pittsburgh Mills Mall when a four-person ring tried to use them in shops. Police were impressed with the quality, and sent warnings to store employees in the area about how to spot these fakes. In Central Illinois in December, fake hundreds were found to appear real even after a counterfeit pen was applied to them.

This type of counterfeiting can be performed only on pre-1996 bills, lacking security bands and water marks that we used in later production. The bills appear to be made in New York City, and cashed in elsewhere. In New Jersey‘s Camden County this was also reported, when two women were caught trying to pass these bills at a Walmart store.

If you use $100 bills (I rarely do) then you should examine them to see what year they were printed. Perhaps you should avoid using $100 bills if you are trying to avoid getting entangled with counterfeit money.



Ellen Levitt is the author of The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn (2009), The Lost Synagogues of the Bronx and Queens (2011) and The Lost Synagogues of Manhattan (2013), all published by Avotaynu. She is a lifelong New Yorker, a veteran public school teacher, writer and photographer. Bird lover as well.