View Full Version : Counterfeiting the new U.S. currency
Are merchants aware of all the bells and whistles that go along with the new bills? I think it would be pretty difficult to duplicate the watermark of the new bills, but what good will the watermark do if nobody looks for it? Ditto for the changing ink colors, and the "USA" lettering that can be seen by a magnifying glass. A counterfeiter only has to make something that will looks close to the real thing, not an exact match. If what Cecil said in his new book is accurate, I'm sure a lot of counterfeiters are moving to Philadephia this very minute! ;)
Papa Bear can probably answer this, but I was just wondering--the original purpose of the Secret Service was to stop Confederate counterfeiters during the Civil War. When did they become the government's bodyguard service? (I don't just say "President's" because now they offer the same protection to members of Congress and Presidential candidates.)
"Interested in fashion, Harmonica?"
"There were three dusters like these waiting for a train.
Inside the dusters were three men. Inside the men were
--Once Upon A Time In The West
The bad guys can just counterfeit the old ones, and circulate them among themselves a bit to make them look old. Actually, it's much easier than that - just put them in a burlap bag along with some dried corncobs or cat litter in the clothes dryer for a few hours. Don't ask me how I know that, either.
HI! Mr. SS agent! Using google yet?
The average life-span of paper currency is six months. Once we get to a point where new bills outnumber old bills, many people will begin to hoard the old bills as collectables, just as they did in the days of silver certificates. Sure, a few old-time bills will still be in circulation. But as PapaBear pointed out, the old bills will be subjected to greater scrutiny.
I'm sure the new bills are being counterfitted. Whether they're being counterfitted successfully is another question.
If a person was just conterfeiting to circulate for personal expenses, like groceries and gas, I think he could probably get away with it for a while. How many merchants (or bank tellers for that matter) closely examine your money? If any differences in the paper were indecernable, it wouldn't be noticed by most cashiers who just push it in to the cash drawer without much inspection. And bank tellers count a large ammount of cash on a daily basis, and probably don't inspect it more than passingly. The new money looks so simple to reproduce so that at a casual glance you could fool someone.
Lissa, there is an artist (I forget his name) who actually makes a living creating currency. It's obviously not real currency (often he'll have his face on the bill), but he "spends" it by bartering. For example, he'll haggle with the waitress over the bill by offering to trade her one or some of his artmoney for a meal. He's very careful not to present his work as money, but as art. It's like the apochryphal story about Picasso paying for a meal by give the waiter a sketch he'd drawn during lunch.
Protection of the President, Veep, and their families is in the Secret Service's original charter. The service was created 3 months after Lincoln was assasinated, so that one wasn't their fault. The other 3 were, though. They are a division of the Treasury department. I have no proof of this, but I suspect the treasury was given the protection assignment instead of the war department as a way to make a military coup more difficult.
Actually, it's much easier than that - just put them in a burlap bag along with some dried corncobs or cat litter in the clothes dryer for a few hours. Don't ask me how I know that, either.
HI! Mr. SS agent! Using google yet?
Just tell 'em you've watched 'To Live and Die in L.A' too many times.
How is the new U.S. currency holding up to counterfeiting attempts? When I got my first "new" twenty dollar bill, I entertained myself all day by looking at the shifting ink colors, the watermark, etc., but now, I could care less. Are these precautions working?
Or are people still counterfeiting the old design as it is still in ample circulation?
People are already counterfeiting the new design. Don't ask me how I know.
Everybody smile and say "Hi!" to the Secret Service guy who's job it is to type in "Counterfeiting, U.S. currency" on all the search engines every morning!
How will the new bill prevent counterfeiting, unless they withdraw the old ones from circulation? The bad guys can just counterfeit the old ones, and circulate them among themselves a bit to make them look old. Why are they bothering to counterfeit the new ones?
I think the answer to Keeves question is that as the old bills are pulled out of circulation, they will become rarer and rarer. At some point the scarsity of the old bill will encourage more scrutiny by venders. I have little doubt that within a few years it will be company policy in most establishments to test (with the little orange pens or a number of other means) all old bills before they are accepted. That said, I think you can expect counterfeiters to start unloading their product in a real hurry. The short term effect will (is) probably a glut of bad paper.
Plus, my understanding is that printed money actually has a fairly short "life span" -- it is, after all, only paper. As it wears out and falls out of circulation, it will be replaced by the new stuff. Did anyone see the show on the Discovery channel on the new money? (I think it was on Discovery.) Really interesting. The bottom line was that it is impossible to make a bill that can't be conterfeited, because what one person can make another can copy. All they can do is keep making it harder and harder to counterfeit them.
"Outside a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read." Grouch Marx
Counterfeit-detecting pens are commonly sold that have an "ink" containing a weak solution of iodine in water. The silly idea behind this is that the iodine in the ink will react with starch in a counterfeit bill. The resulting iodine-starch complex is black, so you can immediately tell if the bill has starch in it and is therefore counterfeit. False positives are extremely rare.
But not false negatives. In the real world, of course, any counterfeiter stupid enough to use cheap starchy paper is probably going to misspell "United States of America" anyway. The pens are essentially useless.
Sheesh! Doesn't anyone even try to look things up?
The history of the U.S. Secret Service is to be found at http://www.ustreas.gov/usss/history.htm . Both statements above are significantly wrong.
John W. Kennedy
"Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays."
-- Charles Williams
I'm so embaressed! If they didn't belong to the school I'd throw the entire set of Collier's encyclopedias in the fire!
A most touchy subject.
It just takes longer for people to find out how to print the new ones out.
How many times have you used a new $20 at a store [not a bank] and the clerk actually double checked it? Almost never, eh.
Some stores sell reprints of $1000 ones. As long as they are twice as large or half the size of a regular one, they are okay.
Funniest one I ever saw was a one side $20 & on the back it was blank but there was this message 'You wouldn't be disappointed if Jesus was in your life.'
Actually,soon enough there won't be any counterfeiting. They will just put a biochip i.d. device in your hand,and no counterfeiting will be possible. Of course,this is the mark of the beast,but the public doesn't care...
All right Vanillanice!
I see you've seen "naked" but the issue is much more sensetive than that.
If we were to insert devices into our bodys to protect property than we put investment and money above humanity and were does that leave us?????
Both statements above are significantly wrong. I don't like to speculate, but I'm guessing they are: "The pens are essentially useless" and "inside a dog, it's too dark to read" but what do I know.
I tried to look something up once, but the encyclopedias were missing from the library.
I've been getting money with crap scribbled in the white margin above the top. It says something about St. Lazarus and "write this on ten bills and good luck will befall you". How widespread is this? I've run across three bills like this so far.
I've got one like that, only it says I "will be blesses with lots of money" if I rewrite the saying on ten one dollar bills.
Also have one with a website ( www.wheresgeorge.com (http://www.wheresgeorge.com) ) written on it and one with somebody's phone number (no, I'm not posting the number :) , but it's a 773 (Chicago) AC) written on it.
"We're gonna have lawyers here. It'll be a fun time."
The new bills all look the same to me. I'm still mixing up the 20's, 50's, and 100's. Especially when I'm drunk and it's dark in the bar.
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Yeah, bars. One time many years back in such a bar I pulled out a multiple dollar from a magic shop. It was one forth each, one, ten, five & twenty, so you would just fold it to whatever you wanted it to be. Well, I used it as a ten as a joke and the bartender didn't notice, unfolded it, put it in the register and gave me my change for a $10.00.
A few minutes later, he noticed it in the drawer but couldn't remember where he got it. Must be drinking on the job or something. I did have a real ten to give him, though.
I think the real question that should be asked about the new currency is, why did they have to make it all look so ugly? The first time I saw the new $100 bill I didnt believe it was real. Why did they blow up all the heads and make the whole thing look like Monopoly money?
<< Are merchants aware of all the bells and whistles that go along with the new bills? I think it would be pretty difficult to duplicate the watermark of the new bills, but what good will the watermark do if nobody looks for it? Ditto for the changing ink colors, and the "USA" lettering that can be seen by a magnifying glass. >>
Well, I was working retail (a bookstore) when the new bills came out/were slated to come out, and we got sent at least three big posters from the home office on how to spot the new bills, what they were supposed to look like, and every single security feature on 'em. Policy was whenever we got a new twenty/fifty, we were to hold it briefly up to the light to verify the watermark. We didn't usually bother with the others, as watermarks are a pain in the ass to do :->
Just anecdotal evidence, but the posters were put out by the Treasury, and apparently bulk-mailed to all major retailers, across the country. We got ours about three months before the bills hit.
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