Funny Movie Money

Can you tell the difference between fake prop money and the real thing? I heard about this story (Crooks passing off ‘movie money’: How you can spot it) on the news and after a quick search online discovered that this issue has come up in multiple locations over the years. The U.S. Secret Service has reported a significant increase in the availability and use of movie money.

According to the article, Amazon has dozens of sellers of “prop money.” Some of the counterfeit bills have Chinese characters on them that indicate that they are fake or the bills have “replica” or “copy” to indicate that they aren’t legal.

How can you spot movie money? The article offers some tips:

  1. The paper used to make fake bills won’t feel the same as a real bill.
  2. The money will be missing watermarks, color-shifting ink or security threads embedded in the money.

This article (How Counterfeiting Works) explains more about the science of counterfeit money.

What if someone embezzling money bought prop money on Amazon to replace the money they stole until they can repay the debt? What happens if they get caught or don’t?


Investigators are stumped by where a slew of fake bills come in until they see a local student film festival where the theme of the films is money?


What about a genius kid who figures out how to make “movie money” that looks pretty real. Real enough to convince the student that they have a crush on to go out with them. What happens when the fancy restaurant discovers the fake bill?


The journey of the counterfeiter. Like the based on a true story of Frank William Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can (2002). What skills and smarts does someone need to be a great counterfeiter?

Who wants to talk more about how you can use this idea in your current or next story?

[Credit: flickr/fotopicoso]

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