Scientists out of the National University of Singapore have found a method of utilizing nanohole technology to potentially prevent the counterfeiting of documents, credit cards, currency, and ID cards. The new technology was designed to incorporate over 34,000 nanoholes on an "ultra-capacity nano-photon sieve" surface. This surface would ensure that holograms could not be replicated by counterfeiting fraudsters.
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.
Employees tasked with running cash registers and point of sale (POS) systems are a store’s first defense against check and currency fraud. Training point of sale employees to detect fraudulent identity documents, counterfeit money, and other problematic materials is an essential part of bolstering a company’s resistance to loss and theft. However, even the best training programs cannot take the place of specially designed fraud resistance equipment. Items like counter-mounted ultraviolet lights provide valuable support in loss prevention and company security.
Topics: fraud protection tips, retail fraud, counterfeit money, fake money, counterfeit fraud, counterfeit detection, fraud prevention protection, counterfeit fraud prevention, counterfeit money detectors, fraud prevention
Counterfeiting and identity theft are major concerns for the public, and safety of private financial information is very important to the American people. According to a recent survey commissioned by a major credit card company, 77% of those polled explained that they worry about their financial and Social Security information being compromised.
For as long as governing bodies have released official documents and notes, counterfeiting has been an accompanying issue. This deceptive practice dates all the way back to ancient Rome, when counterfeiters would actually shave small flecks of gold and silver off of coins in order to make their own money. In this perpetual game of cat-and-mouse, it often seems like counterfeiters are always able to stay one step ahead of countermeasures.
The holiday season is nearing meaning the busiest time of the year for retail businesses is arriving. This is the time of the year in which spending increases but also the times of the year when businesses are more susceptible to transactional fraud in the form of counterfeit currency, counterfeit credit cards and identity theft. It is important that your business is prepared to handle the influx of transactions that will come at this time of year and the possible fraudulent vulnerabilities that business are susceptible to during this season.
Bank Secrecy Act compliance is more important than ever to companies that deal with “covered transactions”. The cost of fraud has exceeded one trillion dollars and is on the rise. The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) was put in place to assist government agencies with stopping money laundering.
There are three main requirements that the BSA insists of financial institutions to maintain Bank Secrecy Act compliance:
- 1. Keep records for cash purchases of negotiable instruments
- 2. File reports of these purchases
- 3. Report any activity that may be indicative of tax evasion, money laundering or other illegal activities
Most people associate the United States Secret Service with the protection of the President and others whose continuing well-being is deemed to be in the national interest. Abraham Lincoln did not, however establish the Service for protection but, rather, to fight currency counterfeiting that ran rampant during the Civil War. Historians estimate that one thousand out of approximately thirteen hundred banks then in operation were the victims of the Confederacy’s attempt to destroy the Union economy by circulating counterfeit money.
So, is counterfeiting as big a problem today as it was during the Civil War? No. The Federal Reserve estimates that as of February 29, 2012 there was approximately $1.09 trillion in circulation, of which $1.05 trillion was in Federal Reserve notes. Up to two thirds of U.S. currency in circulation worldwide is held outside of the United States, so approximately only $303 billion circulates domestically. Let us assume that the entire amount of $261 million of counterfeit currency seized by the Secret Service in 2011 was removed solely from circulation in the United States. If so, it means that less than 0.086% of currency circulated in the U.S. in 2011 was fake money ($261 million/$303 billion) . Furthermore, authorities reported that 6.5 counterfeit banknotes are passed as real currency out of every 1 million banknotes in U.S. circulation. Again, this hardly seems like a significant sum and certainly not one that would generally signal a cause for alarm, right?
Loss. Whether it happens in the form of shoplifting, cash register shortages, product shrinkage caused by employees or counterfeiting, hard economic times lead ordinary people to engage in conduct they wouldn't consider under normal circumstances. Risk management, once considered an afterthought, is now front and center among the priorities that companies pursue as they look for ways to prevent potential loss or, at the very least, minimize it.
Heightened vigilance and increased attention to areas where loss might occur should be at the top of any risk management agenda. Training employees to be on the lookout for shoplifters or the monitoring of employees combined with tighter accounting and inventory controls to prevent employee theft are ways to minimize risk of loss. Effectively dealing with counterfeiting, however, requires more than mere training or increased surveillance.
Battling counterfeiting and the harm it does to your business takes technology. Why? Because counterfeiting has become the domain of "techies". Almost everyone has access to sophisticated home computers, high resolution scanners and laser jet printers that produce almost picture-perfect documents and reproductions, all at relatively affordable prices. With this technology, any intelligent person with patience and a modicum of attention to detail can engage in producing passable counterfeit U.S. currency. While most of these fake bills are detectable to those who handle money frequently, they often deceive public-facing individuals such as store cashiers, vendors at a flea market or the waiter in a dimly-lit bar or restaurant.
If you still have doubts about whether counterfeit currency poses a problem for your business, consider this: $261 Million in counterfeit currency was taken from circulation in the U.S. by the United States Secret Service in 2011. That's the amount removed, not the total amount believed to be in circulation.
Your first line of defense against counterfeit currency is, of course, your staff. Training employees on what to look for in the behavior of a shopper and how to examine a bill for evidence of counterfeiting are both essential to your loss prevention efforts. However, technological advances have created fake bills of such high quality that they often evade detection by mere visual examination. This is why you should consider use of a counterfeit currency detector.
A properly trained employee using a currency detector can help you minimize, if not completely eliminate, the amount of fake bills your business takes in. A counterfeit currency detector will decrease that amount for two reasons: 1) Obviously, it enables your staff to identify "funny money" at point of sale, not while counting cash receipts at the end of the day when it's too late; and 2) It serves as a deterrent because counterfeiters are less likely to try to pass fake bills to businesses that actively engage in counterfeit detection.
Counterfeit money can be detected by, in increasing order of complexity and sophistication: