It seems that the counterfeiters of Illinois have been sharpening their skills again, as reports of fake money have been circulating in the state. This is a problem that has been around for ages, but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.

Play money is nothing new.

While the use of counterfeit money is nothing new, it seems that these days, people are getting more creative in their attempts to pass off fake bills as the real deal. Some of the fake money floating around Illinois includes bills with "play money" printed on them or bills that have been bleached and reprinted with a higher denomination. It's a sad state of affairs when people are resorting to such shady tactics to try and make a quick buck.

This happened again in Ogle County but the "money" wasn't used to make a purchase but there was an attempt to break for change.

My husband was asked if he had change for $100 today in Rochelle, when they exchanged money he looked at the $100 and it was play money. The people ran off.

The man in Rochelle was duped but did contact the police who said they have had many reports of this happening in the last couple of weeks,

Maryann Leather via Facebook
Maryann Leather via Facebook

So, how can you spot fake money compared to actual money?

First and foremost, pay attention to the texture of the bill. Real money has a distinct feel to it, with raised ink on certain parts of the bill, such as the denomination and the Federal Reserve seal. Fake money often feels smoother and lacks these telltale markings.

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Another giveaway is the watermark.

Real money (actual U.S. paper currency) has a watermark of the portrait featured on the bill, visible when held up to the light. Fake money (counterfeit/play money) often lacks this feature or has a poorly executed version that is easy to spot.

Maryann Leather via Facebook
Maryann Leather via Facebook

Finally, look for security threads and color-shifting ink. Real money has these features to deter counterfeiters, and they are challenging to replicate accurately. Fake money may have a fake security thread or a color-shifting ink that is not quite right.

(Here are much more detailed ways to spot an actual $100 bill.)

What do you do if you come across fake money?

No matter how you may encounter counterfeit money, always report it to the authorities immediately. Passing off counterfeit bills is a federal crime, and those caught doing so could face severe penalties. Yes, it may be tempting to try and make a quick buck, but it's never worth the risk of getting caught and facing the consequences.

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