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Fraud Prevention Blog

3 Simple Steps To Teach Employees How To Detect Counterfeit Money.

Posted by Sean Trundy on Wed, May 23, 2012 @ 03:07 PM


Here are three easy steps you can take, right now, with no cost and very little time investment to help your employees learn how to better detect fake money:

  1. Order or download the Department of Treasury's Multi-note booklet and poster to learn how to detect counterfeit money by memorizing the security features on the $5, $10, $20 and new $100 dollar bill.  Their are free versions for download and larger, full color, posters and booklets you can order.  Keep them in a conspicuous place in the back room to reinforce the training.
  2. Have every employee view each of the denominations in front of you and ask them to identify at least three security features on each bill.  This simple exercise will give you the opportunity to point out other security features they may not be aware of and to reinforce their knowledge of the features they do recognize.
  3. Instruct your people that handling money is about paying attention.   Practice with the employee by handing them some bills in combination such as 2 $20's, a $10 and a few $1s and ask them to organize the money according to denomination.  Next, ask them to "face" the bills.  Facing currency means turning every bill face up and pointing in the same direction (i.e. standing at the register, make sure every president faces the door or window of your store).  By facing the bills, you're asking the employee to view each bill and determine its denomination. 

Be aware that proper cash handling is the first step in how to detect counterfeit money.  With proper cash handling techniques coupled with knowledge of the security features, your employees will be an asset on the front line of detecting counterfeit money.

Here Two Important "DON'TS".

Topics: fake money

Using Money Detectors to Recognize Fake Money

Posted by Sean Trundy on Mon, May 21, 2012 @ 09:16 AM

"Get Money" isn't just a song by The Notorious B.I.G.

Topics: fake money, counterfeit money detectors

Why Counterfeit Pens Can't Detect Fake Money

Posted by Sean Trundy on Wed, May 16, 2012 @ 02:17 PM

 Passing Counterfeit Money Through Retailers is a Multimillion Dollar Industry  

Every year, millions of "fake" notes are passed over retail counters and the majority are not identified as counterfeit until they're examined by the bank.  Most often, retail associates don't know how to identify legitimate money or they rely on the simplest of all anti-counterfeiting tools; the counterfeit pen.  Unfortunately, relying on the pen alone is not going to catch anyone other than an amateur who is printing money on a laser printer. 

Topics: anti-money laundering, counterfeit money, fake money

Why is Counterfeit Currency so Hard to Detect?

Posted by Sean Trundy on Tue, Mar 06, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

Counterfeit currency.  Not something most of us think about.  We think we know what it is and some of us may even have run across some fake money or know someone who has some anecdote about the time they....  Few of us, however, have ever suffered negative consequences from interaction with 'funny money.'  Or so we would like to believe.  Is counterfeit currency a real problem and, if so, why it so hard to detect? 

The United States Secret Service reports that, in 2011, $261 million in counterfeit currency was removed from circulation last year leading to 3,028 arrests. Neither of these figures seem very significant until you consider that they merely represent counterfeiting upon which the Secret Service could act, not all suspected counterfeiting activity.  Remember that the more counterfeit money circulated, the more our economy is at risk.  When currency literally not worth the paper it is printed on is given in exchange for goods and services, the U.S. dollar becomes devalued. 

The United States has used increasingly sophisticated methods to guard against counterfeit currency, yet fake money continues to be a problem.  Counterfeiting is no longer the exclusive domain of crime-syndicates, international drug cartels or foreign terrorist groups, all of whom produces passable U.S. currency in an attempt to launder money and, in some cases, undermine national security (i.e., the economic system of any country is only as strong as its integrity and nothing weakens that integrity like the diminished value or credibility of its currency).   

Who else can print fake money?  Why, just about anybody.  Your neighbor, your boss, you.  Digital technology, when combined with some creativity and patience, enables any reasonably intelligent person to counterfeit U.S. currency.  High speed computers with the latest software, high definition scanners and high resolution printers make it possible to create reasonable facsimiles of any U.S. bill. 

Of course, one would need to know what to do.  Funny thing is, information is readily available to anyone who can navigate a search engine.  Type in "How to counterfeit money" and you will receive countless results, including detailed analyses of how counterfeiting works, why it works and how to tell distinguish between real and fake American money.  In fact, you can even learn from Frank Abagnale, now a security consultant who was once considered one of the greatest fraud artists and imposters of all time.  With these resources, it is possible for you or anyone to create American money capable of deceiving the casual observer.

And what of the clerk or store owner who handles money with some frequency?  Clearly, fake money that only looks real isn't going to be enough to fool them.  It must feel like real money.   As it turns out, there are ways to alter real currency or acquire paper similar enough to that on which real money is printed that, again with diligence and intelligence, enables the counterfeiter to generate funny money that feels like real money. 

As long as the counterfeiter isn't caught, this is a crime that pays.  Access to the technology and resources necessary to engage in counterfeiting is more readily available than ever.  As a result, it has become even more important to detect counterfeit currency.  There are tools now available that are designed to assist even the smallest business owner in detecting counterfeit money.  Given the size of the problem and the potential risk to your profit margin (if not your business survival), it would serve you greatly to invest in the counterfeit detection device appropriate for you.

Topics: counterfeit money, fake money, counterfeit detection

Why a low cost money detector can make sense for you

Posted by Sean Trundy on Thu, Mar 01, 2012 @ 08:58 AM

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. 

$100 Guide CTA #2 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:

Topics: counterfeit money, fake money, counterfeit fraud, counterfeit detection, counterfeit fraud prevention, counterfeit money detectors

Why should I use a counterfeit detector in my business?

Posted by Sean Trundy on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 @ 07:16 AM

In today's economy, organization - from "mom and pop" stores to giant retailers - are looking for ways to cut costs and improve margins.  At the same time consumers are looking to pay less and get more or, unfortunately, even get something for nothing.  Businesses are under increasing pressure to identify areas of potential loss and take whatever action is necessary to prevent it.  For smaller organizations, significant losses may not only reduce profits but even threaten the enterprise's very survival.

Loss detection is, therefore, essential to business success.  In addition to shoplifting and theft of either money or product by employees, there is one other area of potential loss that requires vigilance.  That area, one of growing concern among businesses and the U.S. government alike, is counterfeiting. 

Should businesses be concerned about counterfeiting?  The United States Secret Service arrested 3,028 people for counterfeiting American currency and removed $261 Million in counterfeit dollars from circulation in 2011.  You might not believe these to be significant sums until you consider that they only represent activity that actually resulted in arrests and not all suspected activity. 

The questions for every business are:  Why should I use a counterfeit detector?  Even if it's a big problem, is counterfeiting a big enough problem for me?  

Let's address the second question by answering it with another question.  At what point does a problem become big enough before you do something about it?  How much merchandise or service given in exchange for money literally not worth the paper it's printed on is too much? 

With technological advances in personal computers, desktop scanners and printers, the ability to counterfeit U.S. currency is widely available.  It is possible to reproduce an image of American money of sufficient quality to deceive most people.  Unless your employees know what to look for in a bill, expecting them to correctly examine every bill for authentication is unrealistic.

What type of counterfeit detector is right for your business, then?  There are many counterfeit detectors that range from simple to very complex. The amount of cash your organization receives in exchange for products and/or services, the number of point-of-sale locations and how many people routinely conduct cash transactions for your business are all factors to consider when choosing your counterfeit detector device.

If you do not take in a large amount of cash, simple visible review aids such as magnifier/jeweler's loops, infra-red viewers, magnetic ink detectors and ultraviolet lights will probably suffice.  They are relatively inexpensive, require minimal training to use and won't disrupt the sales transaction by adding a lengthy delay.  The major disadvantage to these devices is that when using a visible review aid, a person is entrusted to make a judgment call whether security features that distinguish real bills from fake are present. 

If you are a cash business (e.g., retail/grocery stores, bars/restaurants) or you employ temporary employees or experience high employee turnover, the second category of currency authentication devices is probably right for you.  These devices utilize software which tells the examiner what the device "sees".   Called advanced analysis devices, these machines contain "built-in" logic that ensures greater accuracy because they do not rely solely on the perception of the examiner. 

The most sophisticated advanced analysis devices are called machine readable character reading devices (MRCs), counterfeit detectors that "read" the security elements placed into U.S. currency.  Of these, Data Compare Devices are the most sophisticated, utilizing software that identifies the document, extracts data from it and compares that data with data found in authentic currency.

Reducing risk and minimizing loss:  The only reasons you really need for using a counterfeit detector. 

Topics: counterfeit money, fake money, counterfeit detection, counterfeit money detectors

Why Should You Use a Counterfeit Money Detector?

Posted by Sean Trundy on Thu, Feb 09, 2012 @ 11:57 AM

Counterfeit money.  According to the United States Secret Service, $261 million in counterfeit currency was removed from circulation last year and 3,028 arrests for counterfeiting were made.  Given the numbers we are exposed to in terms of government spending and debt reduction, these numbers hardly seem significant.  However, they represent only the result of successful attempts to combat counterfeiting, not how much counterfeiting actually occurs. 

It is impossible to calculate the actual number of counterfeiting operations.  Advances in digital technology have made it possible for virtually anyone to produce fake bills in the privacy of their own home.  A $1,000 laser-jet printer and some attention to detail will enable almost anyone to produce passable-quality U.S. currency.  63 percent of the counterfeit money removed from circulation last year was produced via digital printing means.  As recently as 1995, that number was less than 1 percent

The availability of digital technology allows more people to counterfeit.  And these individuals can easily pass the fake currency they produce directly into circulation, having no need for others to launder large numbers of bills.  'Home grown' counterfeit bills are therefore, less likely to be seized and more likely to circulate freely.  In fact, the Secret Service admits that its domestic seizure rate has steadily decreased as more digital technology is employed, from a 70 percent domestic seizure rate in 1995 to less than 20 percent last year. 

Notwithstanding the fact that the amount of currency removed from circulation last year doesn't seem all that significant, counterfeiting is a serious problem, posing a threat not only to the financial well-being of individual organizations and the overall economy, but to national security as well. 

History tells us that counterfeiting has long been used as a weapon during conflicts; it is estimated that during the U.S. Civil War approximately one-third of all money in circulation was counterfeit because the Confederate States employed it in an effort to collapse the Union economy.   As well, counterfeiting makes it much simpler for drug gangs and terrorist groups to "make" money to support their causes, all of which threaten national security. 

Detection of counterfeit currency is, therefore, essential to the health of our economy and, by extension, the national security of the United States.  In fact, the Secret Service states (at www.secretservice.org) that "The public has a role in maintaining the integrity of U.S. Currency."  There are tools available to businesses or any organization that receives cash (e.g., banks, retail, fast food restaurants, etc.) to detect counterfeit bills.  Unfortunately, the most commonly used counterfeit money detector used these days is still eyes of the cashier who actually receives the bills. 

The Secret Service recommends that the receiver of a bill should carefully review the bill received, compare a suspect note with a real one, and pay attention to the quality of the paper and printing, focusing on differences, not similarities.  Of course, the real-world application of this type scrutiny is problematic.  Imagine how you, as a customer, feel when the cashier examines your note - holding it to the light, testing the paper and scratching or rubbing the inks to see if it is a fake.  In fact, this type of practice typically cannot be tolerated at the check-out lane, not only because fo the insult it may cause to the customer, but because of the time it takes.  Nobody has the time to stand in check-out lines, and cusotmers get iritated when the wait is normal, much less when it is slowed because the cashier is manually testing every banknote they receive.

Topics: counterfeit money, fake money, counterfeit detection, counterfeit money detectors

Counterfeit Money News - August

Posted by Sean Trundy on Mon, Aug 22, 2011 @ 02:14 PM

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.

Topics: counterfeit news, counterfeit money, fake money, counterfeit fraud, counterfeit detection, counterfeit fraud prevention, currency news

Detecting Counterfeit Money: Washed Note Counterfeits

Posted by Sean Trundy on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 @ 08:58 AM

A few days ago, I typed the words “Washed $100 Bill” into Google News, and below is the first page of results.  There were counterfeit money stories in newspapers and other publications from all around the U.S.  In fact, in December, alone, through 16 days, there were 37 separate news stories on the topic featuring the words “wash” and “$100”.

Topics: counterfeit news, counterfeit money, fake money, currency news

Fraud Fighter's QuickGuide to Detecting Counterfeit Money

Posted by Gary Satanovsky on Thu, Dec 16, 2010 @ 11:08 AM

Go into any of tens of thousands of restaurants, bars or retail stores these days, and chances are next to the register you will see a small, black device bearing the Fraud Fighter™ logo and emitting a violet glow. The counterfeit detection device – typically the model UV-16 or POS15 – works on a simple concept: just slip your credit card or any genuine US banknote of greater than $2 denomination under its light and look for the glowing fluorescent verification feature. Credit cards reveal hidden lettering, while a line on US banknotes glows a solid primary color. Even sophisticated counterfeit money operations stand no chance against a quality UV light scanner and a well-trained cashier.

Topics: credit card fraud, counterfeit money, fake money, counterfeit fraud