Last updateFri, 30 Jul 2021 9am


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General News

Identifying fake bank notes

Thousands of counterfeit 500-peso bills (including the new, blue kind) are circulating in Mexico, and the lakeside area is not immune to the problem.

The Todo Bueno charity store in Riberas del Pilar recently had on display a fake 500-peso bill, which staff had accepted but was rejected by the bank. Local sources say the police are aware that false bills are circulating widely in the lakeside area.

According to the Banco de Mexico (the country’s central bank), falsification of bank notes reached a record high during the first semester of 2019.  The bank reported that 80,981 fake 500-peso bills were detected during this period. In total, 156,278 bills of all denominations were retired from circulation during the first six months of the year.

The blue 500-peso bills launched in November 2018 include a series of security features designed to discourage counterfeiters, as do the new 200-peso bills which came out last week (see story above).


The Banco de Mexico urges citizens to become familiar with the key features of the bills so they can determine whether they are real or fake (see diagram above). These are:

Multicolor: Move the bill and see how the number 500 changes color from green to blue.

Watermark. Hold the bill up to a light to view a second portrait of Benito Juarez and the number 500.

Security Thread: The green imbedded strip moves and reduces in size when the bill is moved.

Tactile elements: The words “Banco de Mexico” and “500 pesos” are with raised print. The bill also features several other tactile marks.

Bill numbers. The numbers on the bill number (folio) gradually increase in size.    

Fluorescence: Under UV black light, some of the inks used on the bill glow.

It is especially important for all business owners to train their employees to examine all bills they receive.

Mexico’s Penal Code states that anyone who knowingly reintegrates false banknotes into circulation is liable for prosecution, with prison terms ranging from five to 12 years.

The Consumer Protection Agency (Condusef) website provides a synopsis of the steps to take should one receive a false bill from a bank counter or ATM machine. (For simplicity, type “Condusef te dieron un billete falso” into Google.)

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