With the arrival of the “ber” months, consumers are more likely to head out to the malls to blow their 13th month’s salary on presents for friends and family in preparation for the holiday season. Mall traffic may have taken a hit from limitations imposed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, but there will still be plenty of people out searching for last-minute gifts in the days leading up to Christmas.

Unfortunately, con artists use the hectic run-up to Christmas to try to find new victims. These con artists buy counterfeit money online for deception. After reports surfaced on social media of purportedly counterfeit 1,000 Philippine Peso bills, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) issued a public warning against counterfeit currency. The government bank suggested a straightforward three-step process to help the general public spot counterfeit bills. This procedure conforms to the BSP’s 2020 issuance of its next-generation currency banknotes.

Learn how to recognise counterfeit bills by touching, looking at, and feeling them.

Method #1: Intuitively Assess

The security paper used in real banknotes will be slightly rougher to the touch than regular paper. Feel the raised patterns and textured markings on the paper with your fingers. The latter is included in improved currency banknotes to assist the elderly and the visually handicapped in determining the bill’s denomination, but it also serves as a reliable indicator of the bill’s legitimacy.

Method #2: Search

The watermark on the bill is another detail to keep an eye out for. Placed on the right, that denotes the note’s likeness of a person’s face. If you hold a bill up to the light, you should be able to see the watermark, and it should be an exact match for the bill’s face(s) if it’s a one thousand peso bill.

The serial number that has been registered with the BSP is the next important piece of information to check. The characters, which consist of a mix of six digits and two letters, should be presented in ascending order of size.

The abaca and cotton used to make Philippine peso banknotes are woven with security fibres, making counterfeits very difficult. These strands are seen in the thin grooves on either side of the bill.

Method #3: Slant

The bills can be held in the palm of your hand and tilted at various angles to help reveal any forgeries. When the bills are slanted, the security thread, which is vertically oriented, will show the shifting colours and designs from different perspectives. Each bill denomination should have its own unique thread colour and size.

Any legitimate Philippine Peso banknote worth its salt will have an invisible value that corresponds to the bill’s denomination. The BSP introduced a roller bar effect on the value panels of 500 and 1,000 peso bills in 2020 as an additional security element. The 1,000-peso bank note features a device patch that can change its optical properties, and it can be seen on the left side of the money.

Be Alert At All Times

To ensure the safety of their currency, central banks often upgrade their banknotes every decade. According to the BSP, those caught forging Philippine currency face a minimum of 12 years and 1 day in prison and a maximum fine of 2 million pesos.