The world’s most popular currency is the U.S. dollar, which is used widely by travelers and held in vaults of central banks around the world. But did you know that there is about $100 million worth of fake money in circulation? This is actually the amount that is caught, and there are more that are still unknown. This is worse in the other parts of the world, and with so much fake money circulation, it is hard to tell whether the bill is real or fake.
Fake money has been around for a long time. When the first coins existed several thousand years ago the value was based on the natural value of the metal of the coin. Counterfeiters, who make copies illegally would scrap the small amount of the metal from real coins and cover the metal that is cheap and pass it off pretending it to be of high value. This is how the fake money came into the huge black market.
Technology innovations like computers, copiers, printers, and many others have helped the counterfeiters in business. In some countries, they make high-quality paper and presses that are hard to detect the difference.
Fake money facts you should know
Early days of fake money
Fake money is a problem as it can slow down the national economies by making people were likely to accept any money at all. Counterfeiting has been a cause of distress in a money-based economy. In earlier days, the punishment was surprisingly harsh. In the 17th century, in Britain, the men who were caught making fake money were hanged while women were burnt at the stake.
In earlier days, the countries at war used counterfeit cash, to wreck their enemies’ economies. During World War 2, the Nazis printed up a supply of fake British Pound notes and intended to drop them from airplanes flying over Great Britain. But the plan literally never got off the ground.
The biggest money counterfeit in history
In the early 2000s, Canadian Bourassa’s convinced a Swiss paper company to sell him authentic rag paper, that is complete with watermark and security thread. He brought printing presses and embossers to make fake money. Just by spending $300,000, he made $250 million in fake U.S. money. But still, he got out of jail in just six weeks.
He cut a deal with Canadian authorities and handed over $ 200 million in fake bills. All he did was pay a fine of $1350. Canada also agreed not to hand over him to U.S authorities. He walked away with $50 million more of his fake cash. And it was late when they found out that the $50 million more of his cash was missing. And they couldn’t do anything.
Receiving fake money from banks
Banks have rigorous security measures to spot counterfeit money. Therefore the likelihood of receiving fake money from the bank or ATM is insignificant. When the banks receive fake money, they pass it to the secret service for investigation about the origin and the people behind it. According to reports, there is only a 0.01% chance of accidentally getting a fake US currency note from banks. But the problem is nothing in the world is perfect so there is still a small chance you may receive fake bills from banks and ATMs.
So when a customer leaves the bank the money becomes their property, because the bank will not know what the customer does with the money once they leave. So to protect themselves they have strict policies on refunding bills. So that you need to examine the notes before you leave the building.
Detect fake money
Most of the time, ordinary people will not be aware of genuine banknotes and so receive fake money during shopping. They go on to shop at other retail stores using those fake money. But there are retail stores with well-trained staff and money counters with counterfeit detection technology that will spot the fake bill. So it is the ordinary people who will fall into trouble.
So in order to spot fake money, the first thing you need to do after receiving cash is to turn the bill in a slope position at 45 degrees. When you do that, the ink color in real money will shift from copper to Green. This works for notes of 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars.
Observe the security thread, where it is inserted in an upright direction and is clearly visible when held against the light when you have a genuine note. The real US dollar bills are made of cotton and linen embedded with blue and red fibers. The watermark of the Portrait in a real US dollar is visible from the front and back when you held it against the light. If you have 100 dollar bill that has less 3D security Blue Ribbon, then it is a fake note.
Act wisely if you receive fake notes
If you receive a fake bill, be sure to take it back to the place where you received it. If you receive it from banks, ATMs, or other financial institutions, show them the receipt and tell them the details of the transactions. If you receive it from retail stores or other shopping places, contact the local police department or call the secret service. They would ask you to submit a counterfeit note report to help them find the criminals behind the fake note. Do not try to pass it to someone else or do shopping, if you have suspected a counterfeit banknote. Because it is an offense to use fake money.
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