"Good morning! Thanks for calling XYZ Company; how may I help you?"
"Hi. This is Susan down at the bank."
"Oh, Hi Susan; How are you?"
"I'm fine thank you, but I'm afraid I have some bad news for you. Your store's deposit from yesterday had two counterfeit $20 bills in it. I'm afraid we will have to debit your account $40. I'm so sorry."
So, how does a small retailer, or quick service or fast casual restaurant that accepts predominantly cash deal with counterfeit? The level of alertness seems to increase when a $50 or $100 bill is presented for payment. There's that moment of "OK, I need to inspect this" followed by a few seconds of apprehension, a slight nod and acceptance. Can the cashier and manager truly spot a counterfeit bill? And, if they do, what do they do about it?
There are many counterfeit protection features on U.S. currency; Special paper, magnetic ink, intaglio printing, security threads, fine detailed printing and serial numbers, just to name a few. If a cashier armed with complete knowledge of all of those features, a magnifying glass, and plenty of time to examine every bill, they might be able to detect a majority of counterfeit presented to them. They may even be eligible to work for the U.S. Treasury department. But they work in an environment that is fast and often frenzied.
Detecting counterfeit usually is not high on the priority list in cash handling until the $50 or $100 bill is presented. What usually passes under the radar is the fact that the most counterfeited bill in the U.S. is the $20 bill. The $20 bill does not usually undergo the same scrutiny as the higher denominations, and the counterfeiters know it.
So, how does a business dealing mostly in cash protect against accepting counterfeit? As with most operations, it comes down to training that is easy to comprehend and makes sense. The procedures must be effective, yet not slow down the operation.
Experienced cashiers can quickly catch "suspicious" bills with these quick assessments:
There are many other anti-counterfeit features on U.S. currency, but these are quick references that can be easily taught to cashiers. It provides them with a comfort level and expertise that can be applied quickly to discern "suspicious" bills. For more information on detecting counterfeit currency, visit:
Part 2 of this article will provide information on the types of devices retailers and restaurants are using to detect counterfeit bills, and what to do when they are detected.
For more information on security, safety, loss and crime prevention for restaurants, visit www.LossBusters.com. For daily tips on restaurant loss prevention, follow on Twitter @LossBusters.