Counterfeit Detection - Your Money is at Risk!

Counterfeit Detection - Your Money is at Risk!

Counterfeiting is one of the oldest crimes in our history. It's been around for as long as there has been legitimate currency. From Roman times to modern society. By the time of the Civil War it's estimated that one in every three bills was a counterfeit note. One in Three! On July 5th, 1865, the United States Secret Service was established by President Lincoln. Its only purpose at the time was to combat counterfeited money. It wasn't until 1902, one year after the assassination of President William McKinley, that the Secret Service took on the role of protecting the president. The world was in need of some sort of Counterfeit Detection.

The US dollar is the second most counterfeited world currency. According to, in 2015, one in 10,000 US dollars is forged. The $20 bill is the most commonly counterfeited banknote in the U.S., while overseas counterfeiters are more likely to make fake $100 bills. The chances are, you've exchanged fake money at some point in your life. Most likely you haven't realized it, as counterfeits are getting harder and harder to spot. Last year, the Secret Service seized almost $89 million in counterfeit money, and the problem is only getting worse. 

One of the clever techniques used by counterfeiters is to take a $5 bill and bleach the bill using common household chemicals until all the ink has been removed. They then print over it with the markings of a $100 bill. The bills frequently are not caught since the paper is authentic. 

The advances in technology have changed the way counterfeit money is being produced. Just 20 years ago, 99% of counterfeit money was created using sophisticated methods, large-scale printing presses, and forged plates. Today, 60% of counterfeit bills are made using standard inkjet and laser printers that can be bought from any retail store. However, if you don't want to go to all the trouble of making counterfeit money, you can always go on the Web and by it. Yes, you can easily buy high-quality counterfeit money these days.

The sad thing is that if you find out that currency you have is counterfeit, there is nothing you can do with it. Banks will not accept it.....even if they were the ones who gave it to you! You're advised to call your local police or the Secret Service.

Fortunately, the US Federal Reserve is continually coming up with new advancements to combat counterfeiting. But it's no easy task. The new $100 bill has a few new features including a 3D security ribbon to the left of Benjamin Franklin’s portrait visible only on the front of the bill. When you move the bill around you should see the Blue Liberty Bells change to the number 100. Another new element is an enhancement of the color-shifting ink that also is found on the bottom right front corner of $5, $10 and $20 bills.

The good news is that modern cash handling equipment comes with a multitude of new ways to detect counterfeit money, all within a split second of actual time. Some models are specifically designed for nothing but Counterfeit Detection and some provide Counterfeit Detection while counting and sorting the bills. 

The most basic type of Counterfeit Detection used is Ultraviolet or UV. The Federal reserve adds ultraviolet ink with fluorescent phosphors to bills that cannot be seen in daylight but are clearly visible under UV light at an exact wavelength of 365 nanometers. If the UV printed images glow when subjected to the UV light, then the banknote is expected to be authentic. 

The next step up in detection is magnetic or MG. When the US Federal Reserve prints money, they use ink that contains iron oxide which can be magnetized. Magnetic ink is used as a way to reduce counterfeiting. Every bill has its own magnetic signature that can be read by ATM's, money counters, and even vending machines. Have you ever wondered how vending machines know the denomination of the bills entered? This is how. The magnetic sensors in Counterfeit Detectors that include magnetic ink detection, search for this magnetic property on the bill. If the magnetic properties in the ink are not detected, the counterfeit detector will flag it as a failed bill that is suspected of being counterfeit. 

Another detection process is IR, which stands for Infrared. Currencies may be printed with IR inks that either reflect or absorb infrared light. Money counting machines with infrared technology use sensors that detect the presence of both types of IR inks, allowing them to identify legitimate currency by nation and denomination. And weed out the fakes.

There's also Metal Thread detector (MT) and Magneto-resistive sensor (MR). The MT detector is used to check certain metallic components (magnetism) on the passing banknotes. MR stands for Magneto-resistive equipped with a long MR sensor which is an array of 4 MG heads into one. It scans most part of US bills to check for certain magnetic properties for suspect bill detection.

The bottom line is that you need to protect yourself as a business. Holding a bill up to the light doesn't cut it anymore. You need high technology equipment to counter the high technology used to make counterfeit money.

At, we have a wide variety of money handling equipment with all the counterfeiting detection technology there is to offer today. We have models to fit every budget. Our quality standards are very high and we stand behind everything we offer. Come see us today!  



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