Ever see a cashier receive a hundred dollar bill, and check it with a swipe of a marker to see if it was real? Well, some clever counterfeiters have figured out how to fool the magic counterfeit detector marker.
The Secret Service is investigating a rash of fake $100 bills that have flooded Baltimore. They don’t know if they’re being produced there, or just being dumped there, but the technique is ingenious. The counterfeiters are taking real, $5 bills, which contain the special paper that all bills need to have. They’re carefully scraping off the existing printing and reprinting them with a plate that makes them look like $100 bills.
There are several ways you might detect the counterfeit, but the $7.99 marker that is ubiquitously sold is not one of them. Because it’s a real piece of special currency paper (albeit from a $5 bill) it will pass that test. You’ve actually got to hold it up to the light and look at the watermark. The watermark will match the larger photo. If you look at the top bill in the photo you’ll see it’s Franklin’s head in the portrait, but Lincoln’s head in the watermark.
Clearly, this is why we learn American history in grade school.