Fake money

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Joca, May 9, 2008.

  1. Joca

    Joca Senior Member

    Florianópolis, Brazil
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Do cashiers in your country usually look to see, in your presence and mostly not hiding it from you, if the banknote you have just handed them is fake money or not, such as holding it up against the light or scratching it or whatever? Is this considered to be offensive to a paying customer?
  2. Vale_yaya Senior Member

    Minnesota, USA
    In Ecuador... they do it ALL the time... most of the places now have "those special markers" to be able to identify if they're fake or not... otherwise if there are like a little corner store/market place, sometimes even with a 20 dollar bill... but most often happens with a 100 dollar bill... some people wouldn't care at all... some other may get offended... but it's just the way it is... You may even hear people saying: Hey, I just got those bills from the bank, no need to check it... yeah!!!... they will check them either way.
  3. DiabloScott

    DiabloScott Senior Member

    USA English
    It is becoming more common in USA. I think the cashiers are usually more embarassed to do it than the customers are to have it done.
  4. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Yes they do and no we don't. Forged banknotes circulate and the fact that you didn't notice doesn't mean that they should be conned too :D At least that's how we see it. In fact I have seen myself quite a few people being interested to see the result if a banknote fails for some reason and murmuring something about what they'll do to the person that gave it to them. So no offence whatsoever.

    I should add that some also check the two euro coins since the new Turkish pound (I meanthe new coin of the Yeni Turk Lirasi) look quite a lot like each other (photo) and we are not, in general, used to checking our coins and some clever people thought to "import" some. Of course no one is insulted by that either.
  5. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    In Austria many supermarket chains and petrol stations (especially them!) do scan notes € 100 upwards (maybe even smaller ones), and some do not accept at all notes higher than € 100. (This 'scan' is just an UV light, I guess, which would reveal false notes immediately.)

    It is considered normal here, no one would take offense.
    (With € 5 or € 10 notes this however would be considered ridiculous, or at least in my opinion it would be.)
  6. Montesacro Senior Member

    More or less the same in Italy.
    I would like to add that lack of change is the usual explanation that is given when high-value notes are refused (since all forms of payment should be accepted including cash money, provided it's genuine!).
  7. sureño Banned

    Not only that, as swindlers are each time getting better doing their “job”, it’s not enough.
    There is a kind of tester for detecting faked bills. I don’t know if it’s used in other countries or if it’s just an Argentinean invention.
    Ohhh and not only for high valued bills; there were cases with low valued ones faked too and even with coins.
  8. pickypuck Senior Member

    Badajoz, Spanish Extremadura
    Extremaduran Spanish
    In Spain it is usually done with the 50-euro notes. They pass the notes through a machine. In El Corte Inglés they do it all the time. I guess it is because there seems to be a high rate of false 50-euro notes... or so they say. I don't know if they do it with 100 or 500-euro notes. I've never paid with those.

  9. mirx Banned

    In my city in México it's not very common anymore but still happens, but they don't do it anymore holding the bill against the light.

    Instead they take the bills as if they were going to put them in the register and there is a machine there that tells them. But as I said is not very common, it is almost mandatory with American dollars though, so most of the places dealing with American money will have on of those UV light machines or a kind of marker that is only visible if the bill is fake.

    Last edited: May 10, 2008
  10. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    I've never noticed a cashier obviously checking Australian money to see whether it is genuine.

    Big notes can be a nuisance for shop keepers. A few shoppers buying small amounts and paying with big notes can empty the till of change.

    According to the strict letter of the law in Australia, there is no obligation to give change if the amount offered is greater than the debt - but it is not likely that a cashier would actually do that!
  11. Montesacro Senior Member


    Anyway the amount offered is nearly always greater than the debt...
  12. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I've never seen this be done in Portugal. Certainly not in any conspicuous way. I don't know if they scan the money discreetly in some places (like banks). That might well happen.
  13. Chaska Ñawi

    Chaska Ñawi Senior Member

    an old Ontario farmhouse
    Canadian English
    Counterfeit $10 and $20 are a problem, so often people with small businesses will invest in a scanner. Nobody objects to people taking a closer look, either.

    At least when you're working with human beings you can ask for a different bill. There have been several cases where people reported getting counterfeit bills from bank machines .... but the banks refused to accept them back.
  14. blue_jewel

    blue_jewel Senior Member

    In my country, cashiers do it all the time to check if they see those special marker in all the paper money we have.
  15. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    I see the markers in stores from time to time in the US. The reality here is that almost everyone pays for things with credit/debit cards very frequently, so few will make more than a small purchase with cash.

    Using cash for large purchases sometimes suggests that the person can't have a credit card--so maybe the cash they have is also under suspicion.
  16. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    They've been doing this in Israel for years, mostly with 100 shekel bills (= about USD 35 these days I think). No one even mentions it.
  17. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    The same in Finland.
  18. Revontuli

    Revontuli Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Here many cashiers check the banknotes,especially those in 50 and 100 Turkish liras when we're next to them. Because fake money has been a big problem in Turkey recently.
    No-one finds it offensive because everyone has to be watchful over this matter.We wouldn't like to get back fake money,that's why it's always good when cashiers banknotes.
  19. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    It is gaining popularity to use technical devises overtly for this purpose in Germany too. But becaues of the numereous and special graphic features of Euro-notes you really don't need a machine to tell counterfeit from real money. (silvery line, hologram, large numbers changing their color depending on the vievwing angle etc.) They are even designed so that a blind person should have a good chance of telling if he is holding real money in his hands.
  20. Gwan Senior Member

    Indre et Loire, France
    New Zealand, English
    I've never seen it here. Our money is made of plastic, so I suppose at least theoretically it's harder to forge than paper money. They also have features like the silver line etc. mentioned by Sepia. I did notice it happening in the UK though. Not sure whether it's because there's not much forgery here (small country, relatively little crime of that sort) or because of the technical difficulties in forging our currency.
  21. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    Hi Joca.:)

    Only if it's a large denomination banknote. No, the cashiers don't hide from you that they examine your money. It's so common that no one thinks it a big deal.:)

    No, I suppose. At least I've never felt offended or anything. Just a bit nervous sometimes - since I was caught at a bank with a fake 100 dollars banknote.:rolleyes:
  22. Gato_Gordo

    Gato_Gordo Senior Member

    The Western Pearl
    Spanish - México
    Here in Mexico small notes are made of polymer, so there's not much fuss about them, bigger notes ($200 or $500 pesos) are sometimes checked for security safeguards like embedded metal strips, holograms and such, but if this bothers you, you just say "hey the note is good, I just printed it myself earlier ^_^

    US currency, on the other hand, is always UV checked.
  23. Lugubert Senior Member

    The larger Swedish denominations are almost always checked, either by UV, or more conspicuosly by holding them towards a light source, which enables checking of at least three different safety devices in the bill. Nobody cares (as long as the bill is good).
  24. Gabino

    Gabino Senior Member

    Bogotá, Colombia
    In Colombia they always check the authentivity of "big" notes, you can even read in some cashiers stands "Todo billete falso será roto y notificado a la policia" That's even ruder for the customers.
  25. roxcyn

    roxcyn Senior Member

    American English [AmE]
    Yes, when I worked in a grocery store I had a pen that I used on twenties ($20), fifties ($50), and one-hundreds ($100). The management would yell at us if we didn't check. Yes, a few people got mad. Someone told me about why would they scam a grocery store. Another person told me how could it be fake I just got it out of the ATM. That was years ago (9 to 10 years ago)--I'm not sure what they do now. They had us check the expiration on coupons. It was right at the point when internet printable coupons were starting and they told us we couldn't accept them. Some people were making fake ones to get free products. Nowadays that is total luducris because they accept them all over. I know some stores will put limits on coupons.

    Some smaller places (gas station, convenience store) won't take anything over a twenty ($20). I guess so they don't get robbed and don't have to worry about too much counterfeiting.
  26. Stoggler

    Stoggler Senior Member

    Sussex, GBR
    UK English
    It's common in the UK, and it's not considered rude or frowned upon. I guess we see it as a shop just trying to protect itself - nothing wrong with that.
  27. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    I think, after the first high quality colour laser printers got on the market they check banknotes overtly everywhere.
  28. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish

    So do ours - it is not plastic but it may feel as if. Forgers make sure they spend their money when cashiers have a lot to do and are in such a hurry that they do not have time to look closely at each banknote. To make a really impeccable forged note is practically impossible for a small organisation. Even if you steal the original plates it is still very difficult because a machine does not just transfer the same amount of ink onto the paper, just because you have the same plates.

    When they use laser printers they prefer like blueish banknotes to brown ones - they would rather try to make 20-Euro notes than 50 Euro notes. It should be obvious to anyone who ever took a closer look at the prints from his desktop colour printer why this is so.

    Oh by the way, if somebody wants to try it out: Take a closer look with a magnifying glass at any print from a modern high capacity laser printer/copier. You'll find a number of very discreetly placed yellow dots on it. This is actually a code revealing the type and serial number of the printer. So if you haven't stolen the printer, the distributor can usually tell where that particular printer is in use.
  29. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    Whenever I see a cashier doing this I say, "And I thought our relationship was built on mutual trust." They do less checking on my credit card than they do on my cash.

    Of course copy machines have gotten pretty good lately. I suspect you could hand someone a wad of bills and slip in a couple of photo copies and get away with it. Checking seems like a reasonable precaution.
  30. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    No, you really couldn't. Modern laser printer/scanner units are awesome, but they don't just scan some piece of paper printed with any kind of ink, and you automatically get the right colours. You really have to know how to calibrate them and make your own colour profiles to get exactly the right colour on your paper. But like I said, it also prints the "signature" of the machine on the paper too.

    And one more thing: The software in the modern ones recognizes banknotes of the most well-known currencies and refuses to copy them. So at the end of the day, you need to know how to calibrate the machine, you practically need to steal one because otherwise the main dealership will know where to find that particular machine. And if you actually steal a good, modern copying machine, it will probably be a better deal to sell it and get real money for it than to use it to print counterfeit money.

    And about mutal trust: You are an American - read what it says on your money. It doesn't say they should trust you.
  31. ACQM

    ACQM Senior Member

    Manresa (Barcelona)
    Spain - Spanish
    Whatever. Since the Euro got here there are more and more problems with forged money. There are lots of fake 50 € notes, and yes, if you go to a bank, they will notice, but a person without the proper machine... no way.
  32. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    I don't believe that. Did you ever hold a coontrfeit 50 Euro Note in your hand and there was nothing at all to reveal that it was forged. Imprints, holograms, colours - everything visually OK. It takes so much effort, equipment and expertise to make that.
  33. ACQM

    ACQM Senior Member

    Manresa (Barcelona)
    Spain - Spanish
    It took like 2 minutes for me to notice what was wrong once the bank didn't accept one of the notes I took. At work, I can't use 2 minutes to check each note someone pays, I really can't.
  34. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    But it does not take two minutes to see if there is a hologram or of you can feel the dots down in the corner. Did it have either of them?
  35. Stoggler

    Stoggler Senior Member

    Sussex, GBR
    UK English
    And surely the feel of the paper won't be right. Stocks of the special papers used by banknote manufacturers is strictly controlled and any potential forger getting their hands on the right paper or even something close to it is very difficult.

    I used to work for a high-street bank in the UK and we were all taught what to look out for, and the techniques used by forgers. Modern banknotes in most countries are unbelievably sophisticated and to forge something that gets close to the look and feel of them is really difficult to say the least.

    Edit - just tried copying a Bank of England note on our photcopier here and it refused to copy it.
  36. StefKE

    StefKE Senior Member

    French - Belgium
    In Belgium, some cashiers check big banknotes in front of you and some don't. I've never seen them check the €5-10-20 notes, but it sometimes happen with €50. I've never paid with a note above €50, so I don't know. But I reckon the higher the value of the notes, the more they get checked.

    I don't find it offensive, I think it's normal that they want to know if the note is not fake. Plus, it's not a sign that they don't trust the customer: it could be that I receive a fake note from another person/shop without knowing it.
  37. Bartek_USA Banned

    It's happened to me literally a few times in Poland, only with the biggest notes; and in the UK? I don't recall.
  38. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    I paid with a 50 UK pound paper in a supermarket and all of a sudden the cashier looked up at me and called a supervisor to check if they could finalise the transaction. I was amazed at the time and they explained to me the situation. OK, I said. that was the money I had. It was 6 years ago and we are still used to paying cash more than to using credit cards.
    I know I hate banks and what is related to them!
  39. luitzen Senior Member

    Frisian, Dutch and Low Saxon
    In supermarkets here they put all bills in a scanner. It only takes 2 or 3 seconds.

    Somebody mentioned credit cards, but in the Netherlands most people do not own credit cards and only a very small number of shops accept them. Their usually only used for traveling or buying things on the internet. In Dutch webshops it's usually possible to pay with your bank card (which is easier and safer).
  40. L.P. Translator

    L.P. Translator Senior Member

    In Italy, at times. Especially in supermarkets and from 20€ and up.

    I must add, though, that it doesn't occur all the time and it is probably limited as a safety measure when there is suspicion of fake money circulating around the area.

    Do they have a right to do it in front of you? Absolutely. Do I like it? No, it's annoying.
  41. IRAJ2000

    IRAJ2000 Senior Member

    In Iran, 30% of the cashiers do this.
    It's not considered to be offensive to a paying customer.
  42. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    In China, it is not strange if a cashier does this, and it is not offensive.
  43. Barque Senior Member

    It's fairly common for cashiers to check notes here as well. It's usually only with the two highest denominations - 500 and 1000 rupee notes.
  44. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    I've seen it happen here in the US too. Anecdotal story. When I first came over from Greece my parents gave me an enormous amount of cash in euro. Now, my husband's TV was old (like really, really old) and dying so the same day we changed the money into dollars (for some reason I cannot remember instead of going through his bank we went through the airport exchange office or something; anyway, somehow we ended up with loads of dollars in cash) we went and bought a new TV and some other nifty stuff we needed (note: needed because we are geeks). So we paid for the lot in cash.
    There were two people at least checking each individual banknote. Being smokers we alternated going out to have a smoke, it took them forever.
  45. L'irlandais

    L'irlandais Senior Member

    Dreyeckland/Alsace region
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    Here in France they even scan the 5€ notes with UV. Not seen as rude.
    Many places simply refuse to accept 200 or 500€ notes, so avoiding the need to scan them. Some punters complain about this security measure.

    All euro notes have an ink blob, wipe it on a piece of paper. If it leaves a mark then it,s a genuine note.

    Since the OP speaks of fake money, not just paper money, perhaps worth mentioning this recent headline.
    This must be a problem in other lands too.
  46. Peripes

    Peripes Senior Member

    Lima, Perú
    Español, Perú
    Here in my country, although I don't know if there really are such large quantities of fake money in our pockets, we tend to check for it quite often. We see in the news lots of organised gangs that print fake money and the Central Bank frequently reminds us of the telltale signs.

    UV light is mostly used in baks and currency exchange services. Cashiers at the mall or at a store will usually look at the money, turn it upside down, stretch it, etc. right in front of you. Some people even scratch it. The higher the denomination of a bank note, the more probable it is for them to doubt it's authenticity (like S/100 or S/200). Sometimes, despite the money being real, or if they suspect it is not, they might even ask you to give them another bank note or coin, one that has less scratches/folds/damage. Sometimes I'm scared they think the money is fake even though it's not because they will probably think I'm trying to fool them. A few stores even threathen to drill holes into the banknotes or even break them (with lovely signs!) if they're fake (I've never seen this happen), though what we're supposed to do is call a police officer as it's a crime to use fake money (but nobody does this unless the person escapes or insists). The only instance where I can imagine checking the money to be offensive, is if you're taking a considerable amount of time doing when there are other people waiting (in the line for example). If the person is in a hurry, or there are a lot of people wainting for a service, they might not check, also if the money involved is only a few coins.

    So, summing up, it's quite common and we don't get offended by it.

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