Archive for the ‘Counterfeiting’ Category

Technology playing an important role in financial crimes

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

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Money related crimes have seen an increase in the past decade. This has been attributed to the recent technological advances that the world has seen. With the advent of the internet and wireless technologies, it has become more than easy to perform crimes. On the other hand, it has become more difficult for crime prevention units to combat them. Among the high tech crimes that have affected the society, Currency counterfeiting, money laundering, intellectual property crime, payment card fraud, computer virus attacks and cyber-terrorism have been named by the Interpol as few of the most dreaded crimes committed by criminals across the globe.

Money laundering and currency counterfeiting have the potential to destabilise national economies and threaten global security, as these activities are sometimes used by terrorists and other dangerous criminals to finance illegal activities or conceal their illegal money. Intellectual property crime has turned out to be a major financial concern for car manufacturers, luxury goods makers, media firms and drug companies to name a few, with the World Health organization claiming that more than 60% of the pharmaceuticals out in the market are fake.

Whilst new technologies benefit people in numerous ways, they open up many possibilities for criminals to carry out traditional financial crimes in ways never imagined before. One of the most widely used tactics employed by criminals over the internet is ‘Spam’.  Spam is used by criminals across the globe to fraud customers in increasingly sophisticated ways combined with ‘phishing’ to commit fraud and even money laundering.

Authorities in USA had busted up an international racket and charged a gang of 38 people who sought innocent parties’ personal information through phishing emails and smishing (sending SMS text messages via cell phones). The gang used phishing by luring users who clicked on links contained in spam e-mails into a fraudulent website – posing as a legitimate online bank, where they were tricked into entering sensitive information like passwords and bank details. This information was being sent into the gang’s personal database to be then later used for conducting frauds and money laundering.

Criminals can use another individual’s Internet access, which would guarantee the unauthorised user a great degree of anonymity. This can then be used to get into the individual’s bank accounts, or spy software can be installed on the computer to gather sensitive information like usernames and passwords for bank accounts. Hackers with an extensive knowledge of computers and networking can “hack” into databases and retrieve account information.

In the internet world, there is a high price for this kind of sensitive information. Information such as credit card numbers are traded over IRC channels on the internet, and they are bought by criminals. The hackers lack the skills to do anything with the data they steal and the old-time criminals lack the technical skills to get the data. The internet is the meeting point for these two different types of people.

Technology clearly has two faces. While one face of technology benefits people by making it easier to manage their finances, the other face of it is exploited by criminals to gain access to easy money. It is easily apparent that people are being increasingly exposed to the technological era of crime, and they need to be more careful than ever before, to keep their hard earned money safe from the hands of these high-tech money stealers.

Currency Counterfeiting and Defacing-Be Nice to Your money

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

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Title 18, Section 471 of the United States Code states that manufacturing counterfeit United States currency or altering genuine currency to increase its value is a violation punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or 15 years imprisonment or both. Also in Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code, defacement, mutilating, cutting, disfiguring, perforating, uniting or cementing together any bank bill, draft, note or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such items unfit to be reissued, shall be fined and/or imprisoned for up to six months.

You can just as easily be imprisoned and/or fined just for possession of counterfeit money with fraudulent intent. All of these offenses are covered under Title 18 of the United States Code. Possession of counterfeit money is under Section 472 and is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and/or 15 years imprisonment. These sections in Title 18 regarding counterfeiting are clear and strict however they only cover paper money. The defacement section covers all money. Defacement of currency in such a way that it’s made unfit for circulation is under the jurisdiction of the United States Secret Service.

Regarding the counterfeiting of change, also covered in Title 18, is outlined in Section 331of the United States Code. It seems that there isn’t a big problem of counterfeiting pennies because pennies are not mentioned whatsoever in this section. However, anyone manufacturing a counterfeit U.S. count in any denomination above 5 cents (which also sounds like nickels aren’t included, just amounts above them) is subject to the same penalties as all other counterfeiters, that is a fine of up to $5,000 and/or 15 years imprisonment. Someone who is only altering, not manufacturing, a U.S. coin to increase its value, also according to Section 331, is a crime punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and or imprisonment of up to 5 years.

Section 510 covers the forging, altering or trafficking in United States government checks, bonds or other obligations. If you were to participate in doing these things, you could face a fine of up to $10,000 and or 10 years in prison. Section 474 covers and prohibits the printing reproductions, photographs of paper currency, checks, bonds, postage stamps, revenue stamps and securities of the United States. Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $5, 000 and/or 15 years in jail.

We all know, especially in these hard times that sometimes money is scarce. People are losing their jobs and paying more for their homes, food and basic necessities. The more people counterfeit, the lower the value of our dollar drops. If this is something you were to come across, think of the consequences outlined here and think if using counterfeit money is worth the $2,000 to $10,000 fine and years of jail time is worth it. Chances are that you would rather stay in the position you are in than every try to counterfeit money!

Currency Counterfeiting - A global nemesis

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

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The history of counterfeiting traces itself to the history of money itself. Counterfeiting had started when money was in its most primitive stages. The ancient Greeks and Romans resorted to shaving down legal coins, reducing their value, and use the shavings to cast new coins. The advent of paper money led to the modern day counterfeiting. With potential ill–effects being as huge as bringing a whole nation down, counterfeiting has proved to be a nemesis among nations, and the punishment for this crime can be as extreme as death.

Apart from being a human crime, counterfeiting by itself has been used among various nations to destabilise the economy of an entire nation. Governments have used it to a great degree of success by overflowing the target nation with fake bank notes, causing the real value of the currency to crash. During, the Revolutionary War, the Government of England resolved to counterfeit to reduce the value of the Continental Dollar. The United States government took a similar course but the fake Confederate currency they produced was of a superior quality as compared to the real thing.

The most professional campaign of counterfeiting was conducted by the Germans in World War II. The Germans manufactured very convincing paper, and used the professional expertise of prisoners held captive in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, to produce the fake currency. The Bank of England managed to obtain some bogus German currency, and found the forgeries so good that it is said that the only way to distinguish it from the real thing was that the forged one was better.

In the modern days, counterfeiting has been used to promote and sponsor terrorism. The Central Bureau of Intelligence (CBI) in India has reported that rupee notes are supplied by the Pakistan government press, free of cost to Dubai-based counterfeiters who, in turn smuggle it into India. This money is later used for funding terrorist activities inside India, and is also reported to be the main source of funding for the recent Mumbai blasts.

With advances in technology, the quality of counterfeiting has improved drastically, making it difficult to tell the real thing apart from its counterfeit. It is claimed that the U.S dollar bills produced in North Korea, are the finest counterfeit banknotes, and are called Superdollars because of their high amount of detail and quality. However, with the advent of the Euro, there has been a substantial decrease in the amount of forged U.S currency.

Counterfeiters use various measures to produce replicas of the original currency. Devices can range from a simple colour photocopier to much technologically advanced printing techniques like those used at the national mint depending on the level of accuracy and detail desired. Counterfeiting has become more of a bother now than ever before as it is easier for small-time operators to pull it off. All that is required is a high-resolution scanner, a high-end colour printer and a personal computer system.

Considering the nemesis that counterfeiting has on the economy, the governments of various nations have taken a number of steps to combat it. Techniques like making intricate designs, using ink patterns that are hard to duplicate have been employed. US greenbacks were traditionally printed in two inks. Many nations print engraved money, which use specially engraved plates that are very difficult to replicate. Some countries also resort to coming up with new designs frequently.

Statistics for counterfeiting remain uncertain, as it is difficult for most people to recognize a forged currency unless they are trained to do so. Some estimates place the proportion of bogus currency in Western Europe at about 3%, but the ratio is much higher in less developed countries. The usual target for counterfeiting is the $100 bill, and many of the forgeries are very good.

With so many techniques applied by various nations, the truth is that until money is being printed, counterfeiters will exist.

Can you text me 1000 Dollars please?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

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Ever since currency evolved, humans have used it to lend to loved ones or friends and families, or make payments. In the earlier days, the only form of lending money used to be meeting the person and handing it over personally, over a cup of tea. As technologies evolved, and people became more and more busy there was a need for money to be transferred or lent easily. Along came cheques, and it was now easy to write a cheque and send it across.

Cheques were convenient to use, but the whole process was slow and time consuming. Banks later introduced Wire Transfers, which were blazingly fast to transfer money. Wire transfers, however required the person to visit the bank and order the bank to transfer money. Then came the Internet , and it was now possible for the sender himself to log on to his bank account and initiate a transfer to the party he wished to send. With the advent of mobile technologies, we were ushered into a wireless age.

Mobile phones have penetrated into every household. In fact studies have revealed that although 5 babies are born every second around the world, 30 new mobile phones are being subscribed to every day. Evolution of mobile phone technologies has meant that it is now possible to send money to your loved ones, or make a payment to that provider located on the other part of the globe, just by pressing a button on your cell phone.

With a lot of people travelling and moving from their homes in search of employment, money transfer has become a lucrative market for mobile phone companies as millions of people send money across. Mobile money transfer has changed lives in various countries. In Kenya, when it was introduced as M-pesa, the technology provided cut – throat completion to existing money transfer agencies, notably the government-owned Postal Corporation, a market leader with a massive network of agencies.

The technology has been a boon to most people living in rural areas, who have to rely financially on relatives in the cities. The mobile transfer technology has replaced the much slower postal money orders, and people in urgent need of financial help are being immensely benefitted by it. A similar technology was introduced in the developing market of Afghanistan, where it was particularly relevant since the large majority of population does not have access to traditional banking services.

Even in developed countries like the US and UK, it is estimated that more than $10bn a year is sent back to countries by migrant workers. Based on World Bank estimates, reducing remittance commission charges by 2-5% could increase the flow of remittances by 50-70%. Mobile phone companies are hence, being increasingly attracted to this lucrative market.

Money transfers suffer the risk of being prone to scams, and wire transfers also suffered from money being send by wire to an unknown person. Apparently, the mobile money transfer service is said to be secure, in the sense that it uses security pin codes, for the transaction. So, the next time you need to make a payment, or transfer a 1000 dollars to your loved ones, why not text it?

The History of the Paper Dollar

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

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The Massachusetts Bay Colony was the first of the thirteen colonies to issue permanently circulating banknotes in 1690. The reason behind this was because the paper could be more readily printed and circulated than gold coin. Many of these early bills were marked “Tis Death to Counterfeit.” In the early 1700s, each of the thirteen colonies had issued their own banknotes called “colonial script.” 1789 brought about the First Band of the United States which issued fixed denominations and printed banknotes until 1811 when it closed. From 1816 to 1841, the (you guessed it) Second Bank of the United States took on the responsibilities of printing banknotes.

The civil war, in 1861, needed to be funded with money that there just wasn’t enough of. In 1862, under Abraham Lincoln, the demand notes were issued, taking the place of interest bearing currency. Some necessities were added and changed in the next few years in order to stop counterfeiters. The new “Greenbacks” had an engraved Treasury seal and red and blue fibers in the paper which made them (at the time) very difficult to counterfeit which would cost the banks more money. Gold certificates were also issued against gold coin and bullion and were still in circulation until 1933 as well as silver certificates being issued for silver dollars until 1957. 1865 brought on the need for a Secret Service to police and control counterfeiters. How much was that really needed and how much of the US’s money was counterfeit? Oh only about one-third!

The one dollar United States Note was redesigned with a portrait of George Washington in the center and a vignette of Christopher Columbus. The back of the note also featured green and blue tinting. In 1880 the red floral design was added around the words “One Dollar” and “Washington D.C.” From 1890 to 1899 the gold and silver certificates were redesigned repeatedly in order to continue to make them harder and harder to be counterfeited. In 1910 the Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing took on all currency production functions including engraving, printing and processing. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 created the Federal Reserve System. This means that the Federal Reserve became the central bank, regulating the flow of money. The Federal Reserve also became, to this day, the only authorized entity to issue Federal Reserve Notes (also known as, The Dollar(s)) which are the only U.S. currency produced and 99% of all currency in circulation!

“In God We Trust” No matter your religion, you know this phrase. This phrase was required by Congress in 1955 to be on every piece of currency and to this day, it still is. The last major change that was made was the microprinted security thread which was first introduced in 1990. It started with the $100 bills and the $50 bills, then eventually was introduced into the $20s, $10s, $5s, and $1s. Take a look at the money in your wallet. Now you know part of the long road traveled it took to get there.

United States Secret Service’s Role in Currency Counterfeit Prevention

Monday, December 15th, 2008

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US Secret ServiceMost ordinary U.S. citizens might not associate the Secret Service with our Nation’s currency. In fact, perhaps one of the best known services of the United States Secret Service is protecting our nation’s leaders, especially the President. However, the Secret Service plays a vital role in protecting our currency and in turn, our economy. Currently a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service is responsible for two very distinct areas of responsibility. First, and notably the most well-known, Secret Service Agents serve in protective roles as to preserve the safely of our nation’s leaders and their families. Second, and less publically noted, the Secret Service is responsible for the prevention and investigation of crimes involving US currency and treasury bonds.

In 1865, the U.S. Secret Service was first established for the specific purpose of combating the counterfeiting of money.  At the time, it was reported that one-third to one-half of all the currency in circulation in the U.S. was counterfeit. In fact, in the midst of the Civil War, with somewhere around 7,000 different bills in circulation, it became almost impossible to detect a counterfeit bill from a legitimate one. Therefore, the United States Secret Service was born in order to prevent any further damage to the nation’s struggling economy.  

In 1967, the agency took on additional responsibilities which included investigating those suspected of perpetrating frauds against the government and also served other role of investigating a broad range of crime areas including everything from robberies, murders, the Ku Klux Klan, non-conforming distillers, land fraud, smugglers all the way to illegal gambling.  

Today, the Secret Service is now a division of the Department of Homeland of Security and although the roles assumed by the Secret Service in its early days have since been passed on to other agencies including the FBI, ATS, and IRS, the Secret Service retains primary jurisdiction over all areas of counterfeit U.S. currency and treasury notes as well as its special duty of protecting the president, first lady, and other U.S. dignitaries. The agency also tracks suspicious individuals and steps in to access local crimes when necessary.

One of the oldest crimes in our nation’s history is counterfeit money. Although today’s money has many more preventative measures in place to protect our currency, counterfeiting remains a very real danger for our nation’s economy. In fact, due to modern technologies available to thieves, such as photographic and printing equipment, it has become easier and easier for thieves to commit counterfeiting fraud, therefore, requiring the Secret Service in combination with the U.S. Mint to enact more and more security features into our nation’s currency.

Due to the nature of its role, many details surrounding the Secret Service are kept “secret”. Many of the agents’ identities are kept confidential for their own protection as well as the protection of their job duties. In fact, even the wives and families of some secret service agents do not know their husbands and fathers as Secret Service Agents. Whereas, many agencies require uniforms of their agents, the Secret Service uniforms are designed to blend in with the role they are performing and can range from tuxedos to business suits to jeans.

In conclusion, the United States Secret Service plays a crucial role in the safety of our nation. It protects some of the most important persons in our nation all the way from the President and First Family, to other political figures and embassies. However, its role in protecting our currency is perhaps as crucial to our economy as any other role assumed by the agency. 

What Is A Dollar Bill Made Of ?

Monday, December 1st, 2008

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dollar made ofEver wondered what your dollar bill is made of? Do you know why money doesn’t disintegrate when left in the washing machine? That’s because paper money is more cloth than it is paper! In fact there is no paper at all, or even wood, used in any of our dollar bills. Paper money is made out of rags of paper, also known as heavy paper. These rags are cotton and linen fabrics beaten together to create cotton and linen fibers, making it really sturdy and durable.  

These rag fibers bond together more strongly than that of the fibers found on normal paper. Note that normal paper is made out of selected cellulose fiber which comes from trees, and these cellulose based paper absorbs water immediately and falls apart when so, as opposed to rags made out of cotton and linen fibers which molecule structures don’t break down easy. These rag fibers are fundamentally unaffected by water, its composition is so strong that it remains unaltered upon immersion in water or most liquids. The concoction of materials used is also much more resilient than normal paper, it resists wear and tear, and also does not contain the usual agents that makes ordinary paper glow slightly under an ultraviolet light. Paper money or banknote paper is also sometimes impregnated with polyvinyl alcohol or gelatin to give it that extra strength and durability.

Paper money is basically composed of 25 percent linen fibers and 75 percent cotton fibers, and red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths are distributed evenly and consistently throughout the paper like material. It is said that prior to World War I, these fibers were made out of silk, but the practice was quickly discontinued because it wasn’t cost effective and practical.

Most banknotes these days are made using the mould method in which a watermark and thread is incorporated during the material forming process, mainly to thwart currency counterfeiters. To keep up and stay ahead of currency forgers, paper money today has also become so high-tech, and the newer designs include state-of-the-art technology like Cornerstone, Platinum and Optiks, all of which increases the strength and security of paper money.

Manufacturers of banknote paper were also swift to recognize the problems associated with dirt and they developed a special paper with a thin layer of varnish on the surface to repel them. Recently, the composition of materials used in producing paper money has also changed dramatically with the introduction of synthetic technology, which comprises an impenetrable network inside the cotton fiber structure, supporting the banknote and intensifying its mechanical stability, Newer products like Synthec and Diamone Composite has also responded to this call and the growing demand for higher mechanical stability of the paper, making paper money more resistant to wear and tear. Consisting of 80 percent cotton fiber and 20 percent synthetic fiber, Synthec based paper money lasts longer and is more flexible. Some countries around the world have also adopted polymer, which is basically soft plastic, to replace the traditional cotton and linen composites. 

The Super Dollar

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

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money counterfeitSuper Dollars are the most perfect counterfeit of the US paper currency in recent history. The forgery of these super dollars, or also widely known as super notes, is so shrouded in controversy and mystery, that the identity of the organization or government involved remains unknown until today, although this did little in preventing all sorts of rumors and buzz being speculated on the matter. The term “super” probably derived from the the fact that the technology engaged in producing these notes is without doubt, state-of-the-art. Super dollars are also officially known as PN-14342, a categorization order originating from the US Secret Service.

The United States Government, at one stage, alleged that North Korea may have something to do with producing these super notes. Many also say that this lucid operation was stemming out from countries like Iran, China, and Russia. The most controversial theory to date, though, is the possibility of direct CIA involvement.

North Korea’s alleged involvement brewed from several North Korean renegades who revealed the account of this underground operation, as suspicious as their stories were, in thorough detail. Some have accused these defectors of sabotage and that these nonsensical fabrications were inspired by nothing but money. It was also alleged that the distribution process of these super dollars was piped and networked through international crime syndicates and more shockingly, some of the North Korean diplomats themselves. So serious were these allegations that the US, at one point, was threatening a separate sanction from the existing nuclear one, against North Korea, before the entire issue was dropped altogether.

This serious claim took a major hit in early 2007 conversely, as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily, disputed the North Korean charge and shifted the heat back to the US by asserting otherwise. According to them, their research showed that the real masterminds behind the super dollars is no other than the CIA itself, through a secret printing facility close to Washington state. According to the newspaper, these super dollars, which are being used to facilitate secret CIA operations, was what US intelligence desperately needed, as they are not subject to congressional approvals or scrutiny, ultimately giving the CIA power to do as it well please. An expert on counterfeiting also alleges that the super dollar is so superior in quality that only an outfit like the CIA is capable of orchestrating such a feat.

More and more accusations have spawned since and as ludicrous as some of these allegations may be, the one thing that everyone agrees on is the ingenuity of the forgery itself. The main reason why the super dollar is so intelligible is because it is designed with its security features in mind. The forgers behind the super dollar knew that essentials like the red and blue security fibers, the security thread, and the watermark are the most important characteristic of the currency that they must first master to counterfeit, apart from using the highest quality of paper and ink. Such intricacy goes into recreating these notes that even experts need to put it through rigorous inspections before deeming it as bogus money. It is also acknowledged that these super dollars are produced using the intaglio and typographic printing processes, just as the originals. It is said that in every 10,000 dollar notes circulating internationally, one is a super dollar.

Portraits and Designs On The Dollar Bill

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

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banknote portraitsIt is generally known that the selection of designs and portraits on the dollar bill is decided by the Secretary of the Treasury, with the advice of authorized official from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, after a thorough review by the Commission on Fine Arts.

It is also acknowledged that all of the portraits on the dollar bill are of deceased individuals of significant historical importance. This is because the Unites States Code, Title 31, Section 5114(b), forbids the depiction of any living persons on the dollar bill. The designs and portraits on the dollar bill today were chosen back in 1928, and in 1996, security enhanced variations were introduced in response to growing threats of currency counterfeiters worldwide.

The dollar bills in circulation today features the portraits and designs of George Washington displaying the number “1” between obverse and reverse of the Great Seal on the $1 bill, Thomas Jefferson with the design of “The Signing of the Declaration of Independence” on the $2 bill, Abraham Lincoln with the design of the Lincoln Memorial on the $5 bill, Alexander Hamilton with the design of the US Treasury Building on the $10 bill, Andrew Jackson with the design of the White House on the $20 bill, Ulysses S. Grant with the design of the US Capitol on the $50 bill, and Benjamin Franklin with the design of the Independence Hall on the $100 bill.

There are also several other depicted portraits on other denominations of the dollar bill which ceased in circulation back in 1969. These are the $500 bill displaying the portrait of William McKinley, the $1000 bill bearing a portrait of Grover Cleveland, the $5000 bill bearing a portrait of James Madison, the $10000 bill bearing a portrait of Salmon P. Chase, and the $100000 bill displaying a portrait of Woodrow Wilson.

No records have been found to date, however, to suggest the reasoning behind the selection of certain Presidents and statesmen on these various denominations.

To help safeguard against counterfeiters, the US government is expected to redesign the dollar bill every decade or so. The dollar bill is less exposed to the threats of forgery through the significant improvements in its security features, the tighter laws governing counterfeiters, and the ongoing effort to educate the public on the subject matter. Basically the new designs are targeted to be safer which makes it harder to forge and easier to check, smarter to stay ahead of tech-savvy forgers, and more secure, which help protect the integrity of the currency.

The subtle background colors of this new enhance designs is probably the most noticeable difference on the new dollar bills. This frustrates forgers as it makes the dollar bill more intricate and harder to counterfeit. This significant change also helps distinguish the different denominations because of the obvious contrast in background colors.

Despite all these added features, the redesigned dollar bills continue to preserve its distinct size, look and feel of the original dollar bills of the yesteryears, making it the most recognizable and travelled paper money in the world.

This continuous effort to honor the previous portraits and designs of the dollar bill can be credited to The Department of the Treasury. The older designed dollar bills are also never recalled or exchanged upon the pumping-in of the newer more secure currency. This process is methodically carried out in a controlled and purposeful manner, usually in stages, being careful not to overwhelm the financial markets. As a result, and due to the billions of dollars circulating worldwide, which is deliberately unaffected by this change, the value of the dollar bill has in time continue to strengthen in value.

How to Detect Counterfeit Dollar Bills

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

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counterfeit dollar bill

Did you know that less that 1/100 of 1% of dollar bills in circulation today are counterfeit, which is a very small percentage given its incentives and the technological advances readily accessible today. This is probably because of the recently enhanced security features of the dollar bill and the stiffer criminal penalties associated to counterfeiting, which discourages counterfeiters from venturing into US currencies.

Nevertheless, given the amount of dollar bills that is in current circulation internationally, the chances of you stumbling across a note or two are pretty good, most times without us even realizing it. Mind you, finding yourself in possession of one, knowingly, is a federal offence. Having that said, prepared below are just some of the basic easy to follow steps of detecting counterfeit dollar bills:

1. People who fairly handle money quit a bit will be able to identify a fake dollar bill right away simply by touching it. Even if you don’t handle money that often, you would have felt enough genuine money to be able to tell a real one from a fake, just by paying close attention. The surface of a genuine dollar bill is slightly raised, which makes it somewhat three dimensional, an effect produced during the intaglio process. Most fake dollar bills have flat surfaces.

2. Check the printing quality of the dollar bill. Genuine dollar bills are printed using a procedure that negates digital printing and it’s so easy to spot, although this replication process may be achievable by the more experiences counterfeiters. Look out for blurry spots, smears, fine details which may appear dull, designs, portraits, and features, which are distinctive especially to that particular denomination in question. You can easily do this by comparing two notes of the same value together.

3. All dollar bills have little red and blue fibers which are embedded within the note. Counterfeit notes will have the detail printed on instead, that’s how you tell.

4. One of the most famous ways of detecting counterfeit money is by holding it up to the light and looking out for the watermark. The watermark on genuine dollar bills must match the print. Another feature to look out for, especially for the $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100 bills, is the security thread, which is a plastic strip embedded and runs, vertically, from top to the bottom of the dollar bill.

5. Take note of the serial number and make sure they match. The serial numbers should be spread out evenly in space and are perfectly aligned. Another easy way to spot counterfeit is by making sure that serial numbers don’t match. Serial numbers are distinct on each dollar bill.

6. The newer denominations of $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills have the color-shifting ink feature. The ink will appear to change in color when tilted to a certain angle, a feature which is difficult to replicate by counterfeiters.

7. Last but not least, hold your dollar bill under a black light to see if the security strip glows. The $5 bill will have a blue glow, the $10 orange, the $20 green, the $50 yellow, and the $100 bill red.
Hope the information above helps you identify counterfeit dollar bills better. If you have any other ideas or tips, please feel free to post your comments below.

Government Laws About Copying Dollars

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

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dollar bill lawIt is legal to make a simple photocopy of a dollar bill, right? Not necessarily. There are strict laws concerning the reproduction of United States paper currency. Dollars can be illustrated or copied only under certain circumstances and only in certain ways. Here are the guidelines for reproducing dollars.

It is legal to create color illustrations of dollars, but certain restrictions apply. The illustration of the dollar cannot be the same size as an actual dollar. It should be less than three-quarters or over 1 ½ times the actual size, even if it is a portion of the bill.

Illustrations must only be printed on one side. Any negatives, plates, optical files, or digital images used to base the illustration on must be deleted or destroyed when the illustration is complete.

The same rules apply for photographs and printed copies of dollars, and other foreign currency, checks, securities, bonds, and stamps.

Reproduced bills can be used for motion pictures and videos. Movies, television shows and commercial advertisements can use them. They need to be reproduced in black and white. Anything used to create them must be destroyed after the production of the needed mock bills is complete.

For projection purposes, like movies, slides, and microfilm, actual money can be used. No prints can be made based on these materials unless they are black and white, and meet the above mentioned size requirements.

Make sure that you follow the law if you plan to make copies of actual money. Failure to abide by the law in this regard could result in a fine, a prison sentence, or both. Be careful about printing scanned color copies of dollar bills. Counterfeiting is a serious offense, and it would be terrible if you were charged for it just because of an innocent copy.

It is interesting how particular the guidelines are about these things, isn’t it? I just thought I would share that with you.

Counterfeit Laws In The United States

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

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dollar bill counterfeitCounterfeiting money is a serious offense in the United States. Not only the individuals who produce the counterfeit bills can be punished according to the law, but those who are somehow involved in any part of creating it or circulating it.

According to the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), being involved in counterfeiting is considered a Class B Felony. The law is very detailed about what should not be done with regards to counterfeiting and forgery. Most people know that if someone is caught producing counterfeit bills is in big trouble, but there is a penalty for other incriminating evidence as well. Here is a basic list of things that you should not do, otherwise you can be fined or imprisoned.

You can be prosecuted if you:

  • Are in possession or control of plates, stones, or analog, digital or electronic images or tools used for the purpose of printing any financial obligation or security (bills, coins, money orders, etc …)
  • Make any plate, stone, or analog, digital or electronic image used for counterfeiting
  • Print, scan, record counterfeit money
  • Have possession or control of counterfeit money
  • Sell plates, stones, or analog, digital or electronic images or tools used for the purpose of counterfeiting
  • Sell counterfeit money
  • Possession, forgery of anything similar to materials used to create government securities or financial obligations

The law goes on to explain that individuals are not to change the designs or the printing process in any way unless authorized to do so. You are also not permitted to take any portion of the tools and materials that are used in the printing process, and certainly cannot create any replicas of these things, in whole or in part.

The sentencing for a Class B felony differs from state to state, but counterfeiting probably calls for at least some jail time, maybe 10 years or so, and a hefty fine of thousands of dollars. The best idea is to use real money, and don’t try to create any yourself!

What To Do When You Receive A Counterfeit Bill ?

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

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making counterfeit dollar billThe United States Treasury Department has outlined very specific guidelines for dealing with suspected counterfeit money. On their government website, there is a list of things that they suggest you do for your own security.

First of all, if you suspect a counterfeit, report it to your local police or the U.S. Secret Service. If you are away from home, you should report the suspected counterfeit note to the closest police department located in the same town, or a neighboring one. This should also be done if you are in another country.

Here are some of the guidelines on the website:

  • You should not give the bill back to the person who gave it to you.
  • Try to delay the person, if possible.
  • Avoid putting your fingerprints on the bill. Put it in an envelope or a plastic bag.
  • Give the bill to an identified police officer, or mail it to the U.S. Secret Service Agent that is closest to you. Do not give it to anyone else.

There are several ways to spot a counterfeit bill on the website as well. There should be a watermark that is visible when looking at either side of the bill when it is held up to the light. There is also a security thread that is embedded in each bill. This thread is also visible when the bill is held up to the light.

If you have an ultraviolet light available, each bill will glow a certain color under that light (unless it is a $1 bill). If there is no glow, then it could be a counterfeit.

There are further details on dealing with suspected counterfeit bills on the United States Department of Treasury website, Visit their website for more information on counterfeit bills.