How to Pass a Fake 100 Dollar Bill [15 Ways Busted]

With an estimated value of $1.25 trillion in circulation, the $100 bill is a significant part of the U.S. currency system. In recent times, the U.S. government has introduced advanced security features to ensure the authenticity of these notes. However, people still manage to pass a fake 100 dollar bill. So, whether you’re a cashier, a teller, or just handling money in your daily life, you want to know how to spot a fake $100 bill.

The redesigned $100 note, issued since 2013, includes features like a 3-D Security Ribbon, a color-shifting Bell in the Inkwell, and a portrait watermark of Benjamin Franklin. If you tilt the note, you can observe these features and ensure the bill’s genuineness. Additionally, holding the note to light reveals an embedded security thread with the letters USA and the numeral 100.


Understanding these features is not just about protecting yourself; it’s about safeguarding the integrity of the currency system. Keep reading to learn more about how to pass a fake 100 dollar bill as well as how to detect and use these security features.

How to Pass a Fake 100 Dollar Bill

How to Pass a Fake 100 Dollar Bill


For this post, we used various platforms, including Reddit and Quora to identify the techniques people commonly use to pass fake bills. Below are the various methods discovered for how to pass a fake $100 bill.

1. Use the Casinos

Pass a Fake 100 Dollar Bill at casino

Some bartenders and casino dealers have shared that fake bills can be mixed with real ones and used at casinos, especially at busy roulette tables.

The casino staff may not check the authenticity of the bills at the table, and once the money is dropped, it’s not worth going through surveillance to find out where it came from.


A respondent who worked in a casino also shared that they were once paid with a potentially counterfeit bill. They were able to pass it back to the casino at a craps table, mixed in with other bills, knowing that the casino didn’t check for anything more than the obvious. This comes with consequences – for example – 4 got busted in a $16G counterfeiting scheme at casinos.

2. Target Specific Stores or Individuals

One suggestion was to go to a store that one never plans to visit again, ideally when it’s busy and close to closing time, with a teenager working the register. Buy something cheap that will give lots of change for one to pass a fake 100 dollar bill.

Betting with Drunk People is another method. It involves finding someone at a bar and betting $100 on the winner of a game. Most drunk people might not be able to tell if the bill is counterfeit.

3. Utilize Specific Locations

Pass a Fake 100 Dollar Bill at busy stores

Someone can make an order total of more than $100 at stores like Hot Topic or Zumiez, ensuring that a young person is working at the register. If the counterfeit bill was received from a specific place, one could try to use it there again, playing dumb if questioned.

4. Business Perspective

A surprising fact shared was that when a business gets a fake bill and deposits it through a company like Loomis, the business actually keeps the value of the fake bill, and the bill is destroyed. Even businesses might not always lose out when they receive counterfeit money. It’s a strange part of the system that might encourage some people to try to pass fake bills.

5. Buy at Busy Times from Inexperienced Staff

One of the recurring themes in the findings is the idea of taking advantage of busy times and inexperienced or young staff members. Simply, go to a store that one never plans to visit again, especially when it’s bustling and close to closing time, the chances of passing a counterfeit bill might increase.

Teenagers or new employees working the register may be less experienced in spotting fake bills, and the chaos of a busy store might further distract them from carefully examining the money. This method relies on exploiting the vulnerabilities of others and the dynamics of a hectic retail environment.

6. Mix Up with Real Bills at Casinos

Mix fake and real 100 dollars

Several users who had experience working in casinos or bars emphasized that casinos might be a place where counterfeit bills could be passed more easily. After mixing a fake $100 bill with 2-3 real hundreds, one might be able to use it at a busy roulette table without detection.

The key here seems to be the combination of real and fake bills and the selection of a table where the staff is less likely to check them. The casino environment, with its focus on quick transactions and high stakes, might provide opportunities for counterfeit bills to go unnoticed.

7. Betting with People at Bars

The idea of betting with people to pass a fake 100 dollar bill, especially those who might be intoxicated, is also a thing. The objective here is to find someone at a bar and bet $100 on the winner of a game, one might be able to pass a counterfeit bill to someone less likely to scrutinize it.

This method relies on the social dynamics of a bar environment and the impaired judgment that might come with alcohol consumption. It also involves a level of deception, as the person making the bet would need to present the counterfeit bill as real, possibly by mixing it with genuine money.

8. Return to the Source

If one knows where the counterfeit bill was originally received, attempting to use it there again might be an option. The logic here is that if the place missed the fact that it was counterfeit the first time, they might miss it again.

If questioned, play dumb and claim ignorance. This method really relies on a combination of audacity and the assumption that the original source may have lax procedures for checking the authenticity of bills.

9. Legal Challenges and Dilemmas

The findings also highlighted the legal challenges and dilemmas associated with counterfeit bills. One respondent shared that there is no way to legally verify if a bill is counterfeit without spending it. Even banks may not check unless you deposit it, and if it’s fake, they might call the authorities. This insight reveals the complex legal landscape surrounding counterfeit money and the lack of clear pathways for individuals to verify the authenticity of suspicious bills.

10. Challenge a Fluorescent Bill Reader

Florescent reader fake 100 dollar

A story was shared about a bartender using a ‘foolproof’ fluorescent bill reader to detect a fake $100 bill. But the bill looked and felt real, and the bartender refused to test other bills or show how they looked under the light. In the end, the bartender gave the bill back. Following this story, even with technology, it might be easy to pass a fake 100 dollar bill. It also shows that some people might try to use a fake bill at a bar, thinking the staff won’t check carefully.

11. Depositing at the Bank

One person took a potentially fake bill to their bank and was told they couldn’t check if it was counterfeit unless it was deposited. If it was fake, the bank would call the Secret Service, but they would not tell the person. Thus, if you have a bill that might be fake, there is no legal way to check if it’s real without spending it. It is a tricky situation that leaves people with few options.

12. Specific Stores like Hot Topic or Zumiez

Some people suggest going to stores like Hot Topic or Zumiez and making sure the total order is more than $100. It’s also important to make sure a young person is working at the register. This idea relies on the assumption that younger workers might not be as careful or experienced in checking for fake bills. It’s a way to take advantage of a specific situation to pass a counterfeit bill.

13. Betting on Games at Bars

Another simple idea is to find someone at a bar and bet $100 on the winner of a game. If you lose, it doesn’t matter; if you win, you get $100. Repeat the process with other games until you lose. Most drunk people won’t be able to tell if the bill is fake. This method uses the casual and often chaotic environment of a bar, where people might not be thinking clearly, to pass a fake bill.

14. Use Fake Bills with “COPY” Stamping

Imagine walking into a grocery store in Chicago and trying to pay with $100 bills that are clearly marked with the word “COPY”. That’s exactly what happened in a recent incident in Chicago. A man, seemingly undeterred by the blatant marking, attempted to use these bills, all bearing the same serial number. When the store manager confronted him, the situation escalated into a physical altercation. The man was eventually arrested, but the incident left many wondering how someone could be so brazen.

15. Pass Movie Prop Money

A few years earlier, in 2018, a similar but equally puzzling event took place in Cleveland. Someone managed to pass off movie prop money as real currency. What made this attempt even more audacious was that the fake money was stamped with both “COPY” and “FOR MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY.” This wasn’t just a one-time mistake; it revealed a pattern of individuals using clearly marked replicas to deceive others. Meanwhile, it can be easier to remove ink from a dollar bill.

How to Spot Fake 100 Dollar (2009 Series Onward)

1. Look at the blue ribbon for security

Right next to Franklin’s picture, there’s a blue ribbon that’s 3D. When you move the bill, the number 100 and the tiny bells on the ribbon should shift from side to side. This ribbon is actually woven into the paper, not stuck on it. So, if you notice the blue ribbon coming off the bill, it’s definitely fake.

2. Look for ink that changes color

On the left side of the bill, near the serial number, there’s a big copper-colored inkwell. Inside it, there’s a bell that should switch from copper to green when you tilt the bill. The number 100 next to the inkwell should also change color, just like it does on certain older $100 bills.

3. Grab a magnifying glass to find the tiny print

Look near the collar of Franklin’s jacket. You’ll notice the words “The United States of America” written in small letters. You’ll also notice “USA 100” near the empty space with the portrait. And the words “100 USA” should be around the quill pen on the right side of Franklin.

4. Check the serial numbers

They should match the series of the bill. You’ll find the serial number in the upper left and lower right corners. If the serial number doesn’t match the series, then it’s a fake bill.

For bills from 2009, the serial number should start with J. For bills from 2009A, it should start with L.

5. Hold the bill up to the light

You’ll see a thread on the left side of Franklin’s picture. It has the letters “USA” and the number 100 on it. You can see this strip from both sides of the bill. If you put the bill under UV light, the strip should turn pink. You can also get a counterfeit detector that uses UV light.

This could be useful if your business deals with a lot of bills. A well-liked choice is the AccuBanker D63 Compact, which costs around $50.

6. Touch Franklin’s shoulder

The new $100 bill has raised printing on Ben Franklin’s shoulder. Just move your fingers over that area, and you’ll feel some texture.

7. Search for the watermark picture

Hold the bill up to the light and check for a light image of Benjamin Franklin in the white circle on the right side. You can spot this watermark portrait on both sides of the bill.

How to Spot Fake 100 Dollar (Before 2009 Series)

1. Look closely at the edges of the money

Real money has clear and sharp lines that are difficult for fake money makers to copy. If you notice blurry printing or writing, it’s likely fake money.

2. Check for a special thread

If your $100 bill is made after 1990, it should have a thin strip on the left side. You can see it when you hold the bill up to the light. On the strip, you’ll see the words “USA” and “100” switching back and forth. If you shine UV light on it, the strip turns pink.

3. Look at another $100 bill to compare

Bills made before 1990 don’t have extra security stuff. So, the best way to see if it’s real is by looking at another $100 bill. You might need to go to a bank to do that. You can go to the U.S. Currency website and see pictures of older $100 bills there too.

4. Check out the ink that changes color

If you have a $100 bill made between 1996 and 2013, when you tilt it, the number 100 in the bottom right corner should go from green to black. Just move the bill around in the light to see it change.

5. Look at the date

The latest $100 bills are called “Series 2009” bills. They have lots of special things to keep them safe from fakes. The older bills are slowly going away to stop bad people from making fake ones.

But, don’t worry, the older bills are still okay to use. If you get one, just make sure to check the date on it.

Usually, a $100 bill is used for about seven years before it’s replaced. So, most of the really old ones should be gone by now. But you may have some at home that you haven’t spent yet. You might want to take a look at them just in case.

6. Look for tiny writing

Back in the day, they put super small writing on bills to keep them safe. You can use a magnifying glass to find this tiny writing. But remember, where it is on the bill changes depending on when it was made.

Let’s look at some examples. If you have a $100 bill made from 1990 to 1996, you should see the words “The United States of America” around the edge of the person’s picture.

For bills between 1996 and 2013, the number 100 in the bottom left corner should have “USA100” in it. You’ll also find “The United States of America” written on the left side of the person’s coat.

7. Try a special pen to spot fake money

You can buy it on Amazon for $5. It looks for chemicals that fake money often has. But be careful, because some fake money doesn’t have those chemicals anymore, so the pen might not always work.

But now, there’s a pen to find fake money that has a special light in the cap. It costs less than $10.

8. Look for the special picture on newer money

Money made after 1996 has a faint picture of Benjamin Franklin on one side. You can see it from both sides.

9. Touch the bill

American money feels different from regular paper. It’s made from cotton and linen, not paper. Real bills also have slightly raised ink because of how they’re printed. If your job involves handling money, you’ll soon learn how real money feels.

But just feeling the bill isn’t always enough. The smartest fake makers might take real money and print on top of it after removing the ink. Still, it’s hard for them to copy the raised printing, so touching the bill is a good way to start.

How to Report Fake 100 Dollar

1. Identify the Fake Bill

If you suspect a bill is not real, don’t give it back to the person who gave it to you. Instead, try to slow them down. Ask a manager to come and say the manager needs to check the bill.

While you wait, write down important things about the person, such as their age, height, hair color, eye color, weight, and any other distinguishing features. If they came in a car, try to see their license plate number.

2. Handle the Bill Carefully

Touch the fake $100 bill as little as you can. The police might find fingerprints on it. Put your initials and the date in the empty space around the $100 bill. Keep it in an envelope in your cash register, and write “counterfeit” on the envelope so you can find it easily. Don’t mix it with other money.

3. Contact the Authorities

Call the police using the number in the phone book. Tell them you have a fake $100 bill and where you are. They will tell you what to do next. Usually, they’ll get in touch with the Secret Service to check it out. If you want, you can call the Secret Service directly by finding the local office’s phone number using your zip code.

4. Cooperate with Law Enforcement

Give the fake bill only to a police officer or someone from the Secret Service that you can recognize. If you give it to the Secret Service, you might have to fill out a special report for each bill.

5. Remember, the Person Might Be Innocent

Just know, the person who gave you the bill might not be the one making fake money. So, you don’t have to try to stop them like a police officer. They might be innocent.

Read alsoHow to Deposit Fake Check on Cash App

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