Counterfeiting is a huge, illegal business. While it makes many criminals millions, it can hurt unsuspecting people and cause all sorts of uncomfortable situations.
While many people only worry about counterfeit bills in their own country, counterfeit money can also be a huge problem when exchanging your native currency for a foreign one. To make sure that your foreign currency is genuine, follow these four tips:
1. Use a reputable company.
When exchanging your currency, always make sure that you use a reputable bank or foreign currency exchange company. The small stores in touristy areas can offer you no guarantee that the bills they give you are genuine. Check the guarantees and policies to make sure that they have safeguards in place against counterfeit money.
2. Do a thorough inspection.
It is always wise to know what the foreign currency is supposed to look and feel like. Check for blurry images, lightweight paper, missing metal strips and other signs that the note is not genuine. It is helpful to compare two separate bills to make sure that they look and feel the same. If you suspect that the money is counterfeit, ask for the bills to be replaced with others. Check all of your bills to make sure that you are comfortable that each one passes muster.
3. Avoid tourist traps.
Counterfeiters love to target unsuspecting tourists with their fake bills. They circulate them through popular tourist destinations, counting on the unsuspecting tourist to not notice that anything is wrong. If you plan on shopping in high tourist areas, use small denominations (that don’t require them to give you change) or use your credit card to make your purchases.
4. Purchase a counterfeit currency detector.
If you are extremely worried about getting scammed by a counterfeiter, protect yourself by purchasing a counterfeit currency detector. Make sure that you purchase a model that covers the currency of the countries you plan on visiting. This way, whenever you are suspicious about the validity of the bill, you can use the detector to authenticate the money. If the detector declares the bill to be counterfeit, you can immediately request a new bill.
Using foreign money can be a fun and exciting experience. However, to ensure that you don’t fall prey to counterfeiters, take the time to ensure that all the money that passes through your hands (and into your wallet) is valid currency. By following these steps, you will never be caught with fake money in your hand.