Governments around the world have been revamping their currency to protect against the threat of counterfeiting that has become a serious problem in the past few decades
With technology being cheap and computer equipments available at dirt prices it's becoming easier for the counterfeiters to duplicate the designs and images of modern currency. The threat of counterfeiting is a serious crime and governments the world over have taken severe steps to curb it. We will discuss a few of the methods that have been deployed against the counterfeiters worldwide.
One such step taken by the US Government during the 1980s, was to issue bills of 20, 50 and 100-dollar denominations along with a security strip that was located on them from their top to bottom. These bills had their denominations clearly written on this security strip that was made of fluorescent plastic. It was quite easy to read the printed matter on this strip by holding the bills under a fluorescent light bulb. Despite this fact, however, the clearly written denominations turned out to be a hindrance for the counterfeiters in their efforts to 'upgrade' bills of lower denominations to those of higher denominations, something that they did by 'washing' the ink from the paper. On this paper, they reprinted the graphics of the bill with the help of the dye sub or laser printers.
Another method that the United States government has implemented is watermarking. The latest bills that have been issued by the treasury have images embedded in the currency’s paper. You can view this watermarked image by holding up the bill to a light source. The image in the watermark should match the image of the president on the bill. The $100 bill, for example, features the likeness of Benjamin Franklin in both the standard image and the watermark.
It is noteworthy to mention that some counterfeit currency has been circulated in which $5 bills have been re-printed with $100 bill images. Although this counterfeit currency looks and feels like the genuine article, when the watermark (which CANNOT be bleached out like the surface images) is held to scrutiny, it will be noted that Lincoln’s face appears in the watermark (as he should on a $5 bill).
The third example of one of the latest preventive measures used internationally to control the production of counterfeit currency, is the use of special inks in printing the actual currency. Such inks help to show up different colours in the genuine currency notes when they are viewed from different angles. For instance, the same currency note that appears to be light green in colour when looked at from the left angle, seems to acquire a blackish hue instead of the earlier greenish one, when we look at it from the right angle. What makes this latest printing method extremely difficult to replicate for the counterfeiters, is the use of a special compound that they soon realize, is very hard to manufacture.
These are just a few of the new security features built into modern United States currency. Be on the lookout for even more technology to be unveiled in the next few years as the treasury keeps up with the counterfeiters in the battle to maintain the integrity of the almighty dollar.
Copyright 2006, Devon Valenta, All Rights Reserved. This article may be published on web sites or in newsletters provided this notice and the resource box is included without ammendment.
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Devon Valenta provides a range of resources at his web site: Fone Currency, where you will find information that will help you on many currency related issues. Why not take a look: www.fonecurrency.com
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