fake money, but not so fake?

Given the recent violent muggings in my n’hood in DC, I’ve thought about carrying just a money clip with my id/cards and cash and then an old wallet with some old ID and other junk to hand over to a mugger. Presumably they don’t count the money and then let you go. And as far as saying “I don’t have any money” that is when one mugger shot a guy. So…I can either just hand over this useless wallet with some money in it showing (which saves me from losing any valueable cards or id I need to go out on the town) or put some fake money in it.

Question is: how fake can fake money appear and still be legal? And if I make it fairly realistic (too night time eyes, no wire or lighting images), am I in trouble for carrying it around?

What if the mugger takes it and tries to spend it? (Kinda like a capture device :smiley: , ok that’s not likely to work, but it would be funny. Or would I get arrested if he did try to pass it, too. :frowning: “Where did you get these counterfeits?” “This guy I mugged!” )

So put five ones in it…

I’ve heard of other people who do this. No anecdotal evidence as to its efficacy.

Given your situation, I would definitely carry the difficult-to-replace stuff separate from the main wallet.

If he’s holding the gun, how long will he take to flip through and check the money? If it’s more than two seconds, you might even be in a worse spot.

If he decides to look, he’s going to be an awfully mad mugger to discover your little trick. I’d put a small amount of money in a second wallet and give that one.

Yeah, I 'm thinking just keep my real money in it and the important cards in a key ring thingy. Or my sock! : )

I guess I was thinking of making them look like (or buy) 20 bills and assume that they don’t pull them out and hold them to the light, or notice that the small print that should say something else reads “fake, i’m a mugger, fake”, several little modifcations like that. Mispell twenty, etc. I’m assuming no mugger checks that closely and if they check at all, I need something more than five 1’s in there.

Anway, regardless of the wisdom, when does funny money turn into jail-able money? I recall some artist on PBS many years ago (15 years?) having his artwork taken because it looked a little too much like real money. Eventually the Secret Service gave it back and the show ended with the hotel taking it as payment knowing it was not real because the hotel wanted to frame it and hang it as art. :smiley:

The artist you’re thinking of is named JSG Boggs. As for the fake money idea, I think it would be simpler to keep a real ten or twenty dollar bill in the wallet, with perhaps some worthless credit cards.

I am reminded of a practice first put into play in the 80’s (IIRC) of packing a bogus passport. There was a fear that hijackers would target US citizens so some would carry a realistic pasport from a fake country. The justice department could think of no laws that were being broken as long as you didn’t try to use it as a passport.

You could try to pack a “mug wallet” with some inexpensive forgien currency canceled credit cards etc. but you would probably be better off just using small US bills. My guess is that any money that looked good enough to be foolproof in your plan could get you in serious trouble with the treasury department.

From: http://www.secretservice.gov/money_illustrations.shtml

Reminds me of the class I took to get my bartenders licensce. The instructor recommended that female bartenders carry around a rolled up wad of singles with a twenty on the outside. That way if they get mugged in the lot on the way out to their car they can hand that over and hopefully the person will take it and leave (presumably thinking it’s a lot more money then it is).

It so happens that I just finished reading The Arts of Deception by James W. Cook. On p. 262 Cook relates a similar anecdote about the 19th century trompe l’oeil painter William M. Harnett. Harnett was arrested by treasury agents in 1886 for conterfeiting because his paintings of banknotes were a little too lifelike. He was released shortly thereafter when they determined there was no fraudulent intent.

Never try to second-guess a mugger. If he gets fake money, he’s gonna get real pissed when he can’t spend it, and may be looking forward to a second encounter with you. Especially if he already knows your name from the old credit card you’ve given him. Safer to use a small amount of real money (I’d give him a $5 and a few singles), and some cards that don’t have your name on them.