Counterfeit money has been around as long as authentic money. Even some of the very first western coins were not exempt from counterfeiting, and realistic-looking plated copies have been found. Prior to paper money, counterfeiting was actually quite time-consuming and involved mixing nearly worthless base metals with genuine silver or gold. With the advent of paper money, counterfeiting became easier and more profitable. Today’s fraudsters simply need the right kind of paper, a good printer and decent computer graphics skills to print their own fake bills.
How Big Is the Problem?
According to the U.S. Reserve Bank, the amount of counterfeit bills in circulation has decreased significantly since 1865, the year when the Secret Service was founded to help minimize the problem. However, it is still a major issue that government agencies and private businesses must deal with on a regular basis. A few negative societal side effects of fake currency include:
- Faster inflation due to an artificial increase in circulating money
- Reduction in the value of genuine money
- Increased commodity prices due to businesses failing to be reimbursed for receipt of counterfeit money
Thankfully, there are very reliable methods for counterfeit bill detection that can be used to locate fake bills and remove them from circulation.
Large paper bills are printed with holograms, multiple color gradients, watermarks, micro-printing, UV-detectable strips and special ink. While these features make it much more difficult for counterfeiters to create realistic copies, those with sophisticated training in computer technology can still create convincing counterfeits. Government agencies can combat this problem by always having UV fake bill detectors on-hand.
Some UV detectors are very small and lightweight for easy portability. There are even UV pen lights that make it very easy for law enforcement and government agents to quickly determine the authenticity of a bill in a covert manner. High-quality UV detectors are one of the quickest and most reliable methods for identifying fake bills, and are a great asset to government agencies.