Grocer accepts movie prop $100 bill as legitimate currency

Originally published at: Grocer accepts movie prop $100 bill as legitimate currency | Boing Boing

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Is it not actually blank on one side? I’d be curious to know what the absolute worst counterfeit that could be accepted as cash by a cashier would look like. Like would they notice if it were 50% too big?

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I thought almost all places used a test pen, or at the very least check the security strip and water mark for all bills over $50.

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How about monopoly money?

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Sound like there is a need for additional training for the clerk. Or maybe a drug test

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Or maybe just shorter working hours.

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Which pretty much says that people aren’t paying attention, since prop money doesn’t have any of the anti-counterfeiting features of real bills, such as color changing ink, micro printing, watermarks, embedded plastic denomination strips, magnetic ink, UV ink, debossed intaglio printing, starch-free paper, etc.

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I think the size difference would catch their attention because it wouldn’t fit into the cash drawer or line up with other bills.

But incredibly bad counterfeits can get passed. A restaurant near me has two their employees fell for casually thumb tacked to a wall. They were bad. 90s color photo copy bad, and the paper was totally wrong. But the faked hologram strip was pretty good. And a faked water mark. (I don’t remember if they just printed something dark on the back of the bill to seem like a watermark when viewed through a light or not). So they made what was almost a caricature of a real bill, with some key features that people rely on done well enough to pass a cursory check.

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There’s nothing inherently wrong with prop money. It’s clearly marked so that it looks fine enough on camera but won’t pass close scrutiny. It will clearly say something like “for motion picture use only” on it – like Alton has here:

Not always. The higher quality stuff is printed on both sides.

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At what point is it incumbent on the receiver to not accept it? If I accidentally hand my server a receipt from my wallet, and they accept it… am I prosecutable for counterfeitting? What if it’s a green receipt? There’s got to be some limit to what qualifies as an ‘attempt to counterfeit’, no?

I think it has to resemble a bill. But even if the the recipient knows it is fake, and you tell them it is fake, and it clearly is fake, the US Treasury may still get pissy about it, as do authorities in other countries.

The late J. S. G. Boggs would hand draw money and explicitly offer excellent but still clearly hand drawn original artworks in trade for goods or services based on the face value of the bill. He was arrested multiple times.

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Here’s how I believe this all works (IANAL, etc):

If you knowingly use counterfeit money, that’s obviously illegal and you will get charged with a crime if caught.

If you unknowingly use counterfeit money, that’s still illegal and you may get charged with a crime. The prosecution would have to prove that a reasonable person would have been able to tell the bill was fake.

If a cashier completes a transaction made with a counterfeit bill, then the business eats the cost. If the bank is the one that discovers the counterfeit, it’s deducted from the business account. In either case the business or bank should report it to the Secret Service. Also if a cashier believes what they think is a counterfeit note they are supposed to keep it and not return it.

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Conversely, banks won’t. Now BofA tellers use cash counters, which I presume have some counterfeit detection, but I’ve read a story of a person given counterfeit bills by their bank and didn’t find out until later on their overseas vacation, with no recourse. It’s like the game of Hot Potato, the last person holding the bills loses.

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Or summarily executed by a racist murderer in a police uniform while his entourage protects him.

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I’d imagine that a good use for this would be if you were trying to escape someone in a crowded area, then threw a few handfuls of this in the air. Instant area clogging mad rush for “money” until everyone realizes it’s fake.

(Note: Do not do this as innocent bystanders are likely to get injured)

So it is just like crypto currency! :stuck_out_tongue:

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I can’t be too harsh to that cashier. I’m guessing they were having a really terrible shift, which got a lot worse when their boss found out they’d take a fake note. They probably had to pay for it out of their wages too.
I once took £60 in fake twenties, and the guy did a really good job of keeping me off-balance and distracted, continually adding and changing the drinks he was asking for (and the bar was super busy at that point). I was too busy, and skipped handing it to the cashier until after I’d handed over the drinks. By the time they noticed the notes were fake the guy and his friends had disappeared.
I was lucky, my boss was very understanding (and impressed that I owned up to my mistake straight away), and didn’t make me pay out of my pocket.
So for everyone thinking “what an idiot! I’d never fall for that!”, well, it’s an easier mistake to make than you think, especially if it’s an experienced con-artist trying to bilk you.

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Maybe 20 years ago they introduced a new $20 bill design and I had gone to a live music thing with my friend and I gave them a new $20 for a drink and they gave me back change and I put it in my pocket without thinking about it. The next day I realized I had gotten change for $100 instead of $20 because they had taken the new $20 for a somewhat-less-new $100 and I had to go back to the venue and explain the mistake and try to figure out how to give the money back. I don’t know what my brain was doing on the night because I did somehow manage to give the bartender a tip on the drink. It is always weird to me that they make US currency all look so similar.

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This is all that money is - little bits of paper with numbers on them.

It works as long as everybody tacitly agrees that those little bits of paper have “value” and can be exchanged for goods, services or other little bits of paper with numbers on them.