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Color Copiers and Counterfeiting…

In writing this article I did research using the secret service site, all pictures and images belong to the secret service and are provided here as a service to our valued customers.  For a full description of how to avoid a counterfeit, we’d suggest visiting the Secret Service’s site yourself.  This article is provide for your education and entertainment.

With color copiers able to be more and more precise, we thought it would be good to inform you how to recognize counterfeit money from the real thing!  With over 4 billion $1 bills plus all the other bills in circulation, there is plenty of opportunity for counterfeiting.  If you get a counterfeit, it’s basically on you.  What does this mean, basically that you lose this “money” so it’s wise to be able to recognize the difference between an original from a counterfeit. 

Here is a step by step way you can analyze money and make sure it was created on a US Treasury press, and not some village idiot’s color copier.  The first thing to be aware of is there are 3 types of currency used by the US Department of Treasury today.  Only 1% are not Federal Reserve Notes.  There are also silver certificates and United States Notes.

Types of Money

United States Note

 

Federal Reserve Note -- Standard Cash

Federal Reserve Note -- Standard Cash

 

Silver Certificate

Silver Certificate

Notice the different colors…  Red, Blue and Green.  You should expect Green.  If you have lived in the US for any length of time, you should be familar with the green look and if someone is using a color copier, they are probably going to pick the green one, but you never know…  the red or blue are definately more rare.

Serial Numbers:

If you are given a stack of dollar bills and they all have the same serial number, you have a huge problem. Why?  Serial numbers should be unique.  In Fact, if a bill is destroyed and the US Treasury makes another, they actually have a notation to let you know this is a duplicate… It is a Star at the end of the serial number.

Star Note Example

Star Note Example

Another way to look at money is to see where some key information is contained.  These need to be correct if you are dealing with genuine money.  Here is a key and the cooresponding bills.

Key of Special Notations

Key of Special Notations

 

$10 Bill Locations

$10 Bill Locations

 

$20 Bill positions

$20 Bill positions

 

$50 bill positions

$50 bill positions

Now, remember these positions can change slightly from year to year, so visit the Secret Service’s site to get more specific example.  

Now we all know about the polyester thread, a color copying machine can’t put this in the paper.  About 1/4 of the way across, you should see a thread across the money.

Money Thread

Money Thread

There is also something called “microprinting” which is super super fine print that is spread throughout the bill.  Here is an example of what microprinting would look like.  See if a color copier can do this!  (Actually, don’t…  it’s a bad idea to counterfeit or copy money…)

Big view

Big view

 

micro print

micro print

The Secret Service even recognizes and states there are a lot of counterfeits out there because of computers and color copiers.

What are some tips the Secret Service gives to be able to distinguish an original from a phony?

  • Look for differences, not similarities.  People get duped because the counterfeit looks like…  people naturally look for similarity, not differences.
  • Seals – Should be jagged, not circular and smooth or inconsistently jagged.
  • Margins — An original will be consistent and even.  A counterfeit from a color copier may have breaks.
  • Paper — Genuine cash has tiny red and blue fibers embedded within the bill.  A copy from a color copier won’t have this.
  • Make sure the numbers match…  They actually give this as an example which is king of interesting…
Check the numbers!

Check the numbers!

If you insist on using your color copier to copy cash, make sure you follow the Secret Service’s allowable guidelines for this…  Have fun with your color copier!