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KNOW YOUR MONEY

Advanced Technologies in Counterfeiting

Counterfeiting of money is one of the oldest crimes in history. It was a serious problem during the 19th century when banks issued their own U.S. currency. At the time of the Civil War, it was estimated that one-third of all currency in circulation was counterfeit.

At that time, there were approximately 1,600 state banks designing and printing their own notes. Each note carried a different design, making it difficult to distinguish the 4,000 varieties of counterfeits from the 7,000 varieties of genuine notes.

It was anticipated that the adoption of a national currency in 1863 would solve the counterfeiting problem. However, the national currency was soon counterfeited so extensively it became necessary for the government to take enforcement measures. On July 5, 1865, the United States Secret Service was established to suppress counterfeiting.

Although counterfeiting has been substantially curtailed since the creation of the Secret Service, this crime continues to represent a potential danger to the nation's economy and its citizens. Production methods used in counterfeiting operations have evolved over the years from the traditional method of offset printing to color copiers and, more recently, to scanners, computers and inkjet printers.

The Secret Service has noted that many of today's counterfeiters have moved from the traditional method of offset printing, which has its own set of required skills, to computer-generated counterfeiting. Today's counterfeiter is able to produce counterfeit currency with basic computer training and skills afforded by trial and error, and public education. Counterfeit passing statistics are likely to increase because of several factors: these instruments of production are more readily available, the capabilities of these machines continue to improve and the techniques are more readily understood by an increasingly larger segment of the population, including those with criminal intent.

The United States Secret Service remains committed to zero tolerance and is determined to investigate each and every counterfeiting case. Each counterfeiting case, no matter how large or small, carries the serious consequences of incarceration and/or fines.


Office Machine Copiers / Printers
Advanced technology in the office machine copier/printer industry has made it possible for even unskilled operators to produce high-resolution color reproductions. The widespread availability of such copiers/printers has increased the incidence of the manufacturing and passing of office machine notes.


Toner Technology
Copiers/printers using toner technology generally employ the electrostatic transfer of toner (dry plastic powder) to the paper. This results in the image area resting on top of the surface of the paper. In addition, small particles of toner can often be seen, under magnification (approximately 20x power), outside the image area.

There are three basic types of toner notes: (1) black and white, (2) monochromatic, and (3) full color.
  1. Black and white copier notes bear images produced by black toner only.
  2. Monochromatic utilizes single color toners. (i.e., red, green, blue and brown). Treasury seals and serial numbers will be a solid shade of green, rather than a combination of yellow and cyan. The back plate often is a mixture of green and black toner.
  3. Full color notes bear images produced by utilizing a combination of yellow, magenta (bright pink), cyan (light blue) and black toners.

Ink Jet Technology
Ink Jet copiers/printers spray tiny droplets of ink from the printer head through a small gap of air onto the paper to form the image.
Genuine
Genuine
Black and White
Black & White
Monochromatic
Monochromatic
Ink Jet
Ink Jet
Full Color
Full Color

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