Popular culture would have you believe that the Secret Service is an agency whose sole responsibility is providing security to the President of the United States, but they are actually an agency that deals first and foremost with financial crimes – mostly counterfeit money. In fact, the Secret Service was initially created not as a protection detail outfit, but as a method of counterfeit cash suppression.
It is the Secret Service who is called upon whenever counterfeit money turns up. And, if you’re following the news, counterfeit money turns up quite often.
Modern counterfeit detection relies on a wide range of specialized detectors, but there is a surprising range of options out there. Most counterfeit detectors fall into one of two major categories, UV detection and automatic detection—but which is right for your organization?
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.
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.
In 2013, the U.S. government says it recovered more than $88 million in counterfeit currency in the United States, and more than half of that was made using over-the-counter ink-jet or laser-jet home printer technology.
Bloomberg news service, tells how one woman in Florida:
"took $5 bills with a ...... watermark and soaked them with “Purple Power” degreaser.
Recently, a news story was featured on CBS 2 News Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that highlights the circulation of counterfeit money that has targeted the area. The town is not exactly the type of market we imagine counterfeit currency thieves to target. We typically associate such a crime with large markets and big scale merchants. The Lion Bridge Brewing Company was the targeted business that had discovered that they had accepted counterfeit bills.
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.
Black market websites, located in the “deep web” are known for supplying sophisticated criminals- typically hackers- with information that will allow them to compromise a person’s identity. Personal information is typically the main commodity on such sites although, it is common to see transactions for illegal drugs, credit card data, malware, and spyware and in some extreme cases, even contracts for murder have been bought and sold on the deep web.