By John Clarke.
Recent arrests show government high-tech safeguards against counterfeit money are increasingly proving no match for crooks cashing in with basic household items such as soap, glue and office printers. Take Heath Kellogg, a self-taught graphic artist known as 'The Printer,' who was arrested outside of Atlanta, Georgia with his father and four other men in November. Authorities said the crew cranked out more than a million dollars in counterfeit bills using just office printers and glue.
Authorities say Heath Kellogg, nicknamed 'The Printer,' and his crew cranked out more than a million dollars in counterfeit bills using just office printers and glue. Millions of counterfeit dollars are flooding cash registers, reports ABC News , and more often than not, this 'funny money' is being manufactured using everyday office equipment, according to federal authorities.
High-tech security features on money, such as color shifting numbers and portrait watermarks do make a difference, the government says. Blame improvements in scanners, printers and printer inks. In Kellogg's case, however, his methods were anything but high-tech. He then printed the front of a bill on one sheet. On another, he printed the other side of the bill, flipped the paper over and printed a watermark on the back. He then created the security threads which are embedded in all legitimate bills by using pens with colored inks that would show up under ultraviolet lamps.
Finally, he simply glued the two sheets together for a passable bill. One of the how-to websites on producing counterfeit money advises would-be crooks to wear gloves. Another popular way to make fake bills is the Internet, where how-to guides walk would-be counterfeiters through the process are easily found. A quick search turns up several sites that advise on making fake bills. One shows you how to get around Adobe and Photoshop Imageready, which has software to detect and prevent printing images of money.
Another site, not only provides instructions, but also gives practical advice like the importance of wearing gloves when producing fakes and where to safely spend your loot. No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards. Revealed: How counterfeit money is now made easier and faster thanks to soap, glue, office printers Share this article Share. One of the how-to websites on producing counterfeit money advises would-be crooks to wear gloves Another popular way to make fake bills is the Internet, where how-to guides walk would-be counterfeiters through the process are easily found.
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Comments 0 Share what you think. More top stories. While other countries radically revamped their money to make it more secure, the US continued to rely primarily on Old World engravings.
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Despite clear signs of its age, the Treasury felt no need to overhaul the greenback. But in the early s, the government sprang into action.
Was it new technology, or something far more threatening that prompted the change? The casual counterfeiter obviously bothers them, because somebody can take a note, put it on a photocopy machine, go down to a subway station or a money change machine, and be able to get some sort of currency.
But, they're dealing with a ten or a five or maybe a twenty dollar bill. But the real significant counterfeiting are the hundred dollar bills, which are circulating all over the world. Where demand for dollars is strong, such as in Russia, there has been a surge in high-quality counterfeiting. These counterfeit hundreds support arms purchases, the drug trade, and terrorist activity. There are even suggestions that counterfeiting is being used as a calculated attack on the nation. A Republican congressional taskforce issued strong charges with this report, warning: "Evidence has recently come to light that the governments of Iran and Syria are actively engaged in economic warfare against the United States through the production and dissemination of high-quality counterfeit dollar bills.
Short of hard currency, the Iranian government allegedly launched counterfeiting operations to help the country rebuild. The Iranian government dismisses these charges.
- The Washington Post
But there are counterfeits of such high quality found in the Middle East, they're called "Supernotes. And, Iran has these presses. They obtained them in the s, as many other countries throughout the world. Anybody that has this equipment has the same equipment the United States has, so it's not unthinkable that another country has these presses and is capable of using them if they want to subvert the US economy.
Whether that's Iran or some other Middle Eastern country, I don't know. But the possibility exists. Without definitive proof, the Secret Service will neither confirm nor refute the allegations of state support. There are high-quality notes that do come out of the Middle East. There are high-quality notes that come out of Colombia, South America. Also out of Canada.
I have no knowledge of any state sponsorship of any of these particular operations. Treasury decided to act, but the reasons are debatable. But the money that they're spending upon the change has to be in proportion to the risk involved. It is not a response to a specific crisis. There is no crisis.
The American currency system is extremely sound. There is very, very little counterfeiting actually in circulation. This is to get ahead of the curve and to stay ahead of the curve. They have started where the counterfeiting problem is most pressing. But every denomination, from the hundred on down, will be redesigned and issued in the next few years.
These notes must thwart all types of counterfeiting.
Process of making paper money
They must be difficult for color copiers to reproduce and stymie even the most sophisticated intaglio printing operations. They explored over different security features, from bar codes to invisible inks to holograms. But of these starting contenders, most would not make the cut.
The key to security would be a balance of high technology and Old World craftsmanship. TOM FERGUSON: No single feature is available that will make a perfect document, a feature that is so good that adding that one feature to the existing design, or even to a new design, will make the document counterfeit-proof. What we've attempted to do is to layer a design, adding lots and lots of features—several features, anyway—at different layers that will provide the general public with easy means of authentication while making it more and more difficult to counterfeit.
Their paper is unlike any other in the world.
And for the new currency, Crane redesigned it to be even more secure against counterfeiting. TIM CRANE: In redesigning the paper, there was one property that we were told could not change, and that is the feel and the stiffness and the texture that the public has become accustomed to. That stiffness, the crackle, is fundamental in detecting counterfeits in circulation. It is recognized by more bank tellers, by more merchants at the point of sale, than any other property of the paper.
Unlike most paper, made from wood, banknotes come from the same materials that make cloth soft and strong: cotton and linen. Denim scraps from Levi Strauss and other jeans makers will contribute to this all-American product. But the primary constituent is raw cotton. Here, 6, pounds are loaded into an enormous boiler. The boiler pressure-cooks the raw cotton for two hours in a caustic bath. The cooked cotton is then cleaned, bleached, and further refined. The cotton and linen fibers must be broken down in a precise way to ensure the strength and feel of the final paper.
In this wet state, security features can be incorporated into the paper itself.
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