Counterfeiting Money

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Introduction and Why I Chose My Topic Choosing a topic for this paper turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. While in London one of the main things that stuck out to me was how different their money was from ours. At first, all of the coins were a little intimidating and I would more often choose to use my debit card to avoid an embarrassing situation or end up getting ripped off. By the end of the week I was almost a pro and barely needed to look closely at each coin before I knew how much it was. I spent a lot of money while in London and so I got to thinking of how to know if the money I was spending was in fact real or a fake. I also think about counterfeit money here in the United States and how I could be spending it all the time and not even realize. This led me to wonder how the anti-counterfeiting technologies differed between Great Britain and the United States and so emerged my paper topic. After doing a lot of research, I realized what my argument would be: One of the best ways to fight against counterfeiting is to become more familiar with our currency. History of Counterfeiting in the United States The counterfeiting of money has been around for as long as actual genuine money has. In the United States, prior to the national currency being designed and implemented in 1863, banks would print their own money. Because of this, there were over 7,000 varieties of real bills and 4,000 varieties of counterfeit bills. In 1865 the Secret Service began investigating the counterfeiting of money. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is in charge of not only printing US bills, it also prints stamps and other security documents for government agencies. History of Counterfeiting in the United Kingdom All United Kingdom coins are produced by the Royal Mint. The first sterling notes were issued by the Bank of England shortly after its foundation in 1694. Finding information on anti-counterfeiting techniques for Great Britain proved to be quite difficult. I did however find some information on how they make sure that the money they are producing conforms to the required standards. The Trial of the Pyx is the procedure in the United Kingdom for ensuring that newly-minted coins are uniform and correctly made. These trials have been around since the twelfth century. They are conducted once every year and the form of the ceremony has been mostly the same since 1282. Why You Should Care Everyone should care about the counterfeiting of money for several reasons. One is that the counterfeiting of money continues to rise here in the United States. In 2006 the amount of counterfeit money that was passed was about 60 million dollars (United States Secret Service). Another reason is that because everyone has to deal with money, no one is exempt from being concerned about counterfeiting. Third, if there is a lot of money being counterfeited, there will be a reduction in the value of real money. There will also be inflation as a result of more money being circulated in the economy. Lastly, companies and businesses are not reimbursed for counterfeits and this can force them to increase the process of their commodities. With the price of oil on the rise, our products are already costing us more than they should. Reducing the amount of counterfeiting may help to relieve some of these extra costs that we have to endure to pay for the basic things that we need. How to Fight Counterfeiting A website entitled “Counterfeit Money” states that the best way to fight against the counterfeiting of money is to become more familiar with our currency. A website entitles the “Counterfeit Money Course” is helpful in providing tips for recognizing a fraud. Each denomination of a bill has a different president on it. On fake bills the face is not as life-like. Behind the president there are fine lines that should be smooth and unbroken. There is also a polymer thread woven in the bill. This thread reads "USA 100" on the 100 dollar bills and "USA 50" on the 50 dollar bills. This thread can’t be printed with copiers or printers because it can only be seen when held up to the light. Genuine bills also have red and blue threads embedded in the paper. The threads on real bills are woven into the paper, while on counterfeit bills they are just printed on. There is a watermark or "shadow" to the right of the face on the bill. It isn't visible unless the bill is held up to the light. “Color shifting ink is used for the number in the lower right hand corner on the front of the bill. The ink appears green until the bill is held at an angle, then the ink looks black” (The Counterfeit Money Course). One thing that surprised me was that this ink is "never dry" ink, which means that it can be rubbed off. If the fake money is realistic enough, sometimes its ink can be rubbed off as well. On the $50 bill the number 50 is printed in large print to make it easier to see. On the $100 bill micro printed words, or words that are printed so small they cannot be seen or read by the naked eye, are written around the portrait. To the naked eye it looks like a black line but under a microscope the words "The United States of America" can be read. On the $50 bill, "50" is written around the portrait and "United States of America" is printed in Grant's collar. Genuine bills have the Federal Reserve and Treasury seals printed on them. The saw-tooth points should be sharp and distinct whereas on a counterfeit bill they may be uneven. “Along with the seals on each bill there is a serial number printed in the same color ink as the seal and the numbers and letters are evenly spaced” (The Counterfeit Money Course). Conclusion and What I Learned In conclusion, counterfeiting has been around as long as money itself. It is important to know the ways to detect counterfeit money because it is on the rise, everyone has to deal with money, the more money being counterfeited, the less value real money will have, and prices of commodities will rise as a result of businesses not being reimbursed for counterfeit money. Last but not least, the best way to fight against the counterfeiting of money is to become more familiar with your currency. I learned a lot from this project and it made it easier that the topic I chose was of interest to me. Now when I am in a store and paying with cash I will at least have a better understanding of how to tell if my money is a fraud or the real thing.

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