A quick perusal of recent news stories using the keyword “counterfeit money” reveals the most simple and clear evidence that counterfeiting of US dollars is still a thriving industry. Many people assume that – with the pandemic causing lower volumes of in-store transactions - counterfeiting activity would similarly be much lower. But the data does not support this.
Several weeks ago, we began getting calls from a few clients asking us whether specific versions of MasterCard payment cards had omitted the use of the UV security feature on their card-stock. After receiving maybe half a dozen of these calls, we began trying to learn more about this.
On November 17, U.S. Secret Service revealed that $30 million in counterfeit money had been uncovered and seized in Peru on November 15. This is quite the historical counterfeit money bust: it is the largest amount of counterfeit money ever seized by the Secret Service.
According to a March 11, 2015 Secret Service estimate, 0.25% of money that is currently in circulation is counterfeit – and with $1.36 trillion in U.S. dollars circulating worldwide, that means as much as $3.4 billion could be counterfeit.
The main purpose of the Secret Service - established by Abraham Lincoln in 1865 - was not, somewhat ironically, to provide protection for the President, but to find and stop counterfeit currency from circulating around the country. At the time the Secret Service was established, an estimated 33%-50% of all U.S. currency in circulation was counterfeit. Thanks to updated security features on U.S. currency as well as strict regulations on machinery capable of producing currency, the prevalence of counterfeit money in circulation has been drastically reduced.
Although the ability to successfully counterfeit bills has been inhibited compared to a hundred years ago, there is still quite a lot of counterfeit money in circulation (as mentioned above), especially in foreign countries due to lax regulations surrounding currency production machinery and the high-margins counterfeit currency is capable of pulling in, particularly in poorer countries.
The following is a list of the 10 biggest counterfeit money stores from 2015.
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.
The latest term trending in the financial world is cryptocurrency.
Loosely defined, a cryptocurrency is a digitalmedium of exchange – a method to allow individuals to trade goods or services without resorting to a direct barter transaction, or an existing national legal tender currency (Fiat currency) – with the actual unit of payment being comprised of digital code representing a certain quantity of the cryptocurrency. The world's "firstdecentralised digital currency" Bitcoin, was devised in 2009.
No Update From the Treasury Since June 2011The U.S. Treasury has yet to announce a release date for the new $100 bill. Last June they reported that the bill was indefinitely delayed due to production problems and they have not since provided an estimated release date. The problem is due to some of the notes creasing during the printing process.
About 1.1 billion of the new notes were printed prior to discovering the problem and not all of them were damaged. Several solutions have been implemented, including hand sorting the clean notes from the damaged ones. However, the U.S. Treasury must be certain that the problem is not repeated, and that the solution is "sustainable and repeatable" before releasing the new $100 bill into circulation.
Security Features of the New $100 Bill
The redesign of the new $100 bill incorporates a number of security features including 2 new advanced security features to stymie sophisticated counterfeiting efforts.
Criminals interpreted the American prospect of “making money” quite literally in the past month, rallying authorities into attention and cashiers into caution as money counterfeiters struck all over the United States with counterfeit bills. The poison fruits of this federal felony – one that rouses the Secret Service into investigation – sprung in varying capacities and surprising locations.
How easy is it to create counterfeit money? Up until a few months ago, the Reid brothers would tell you it is the simplest thing in the world. For three years, in fact, from 2005 to 2008, Glendon and Sheldon Reid made millions in counterfeit currency using nothing more sophisticated than chemical bleach, a scanner and a printer. The brothers were eventually discovered and arrested, but their story should caution us all.