Preventing Counterfeit Money Essay, Research Paper
Do you even know how to determine whether or not currency is counterfeit? According to the Federal Reserve, Because US currency is universally accepted and trusted, it is widely counterfeited. Many people have attempted to copy the patterns of US currency in an effort to create their own counterfeit money. Therefore, everyone should have a basic knowledge of the safety features of money in order to protect yourself from getting counterfeit bills and risk losing any money. Recently, new safety features have been created to make counterfeiting more difficult. In 1996, the US decided to begin issuing new Federal Reserve Notes starting with the $100 bill and has since issued new Federal Reserve Notes for lower denominations at the rate of one denomination per year. I will concentrate on the safety features of the new $100 bills since these are the bills that were reissued first.
The new $100 bills have many safety features both new and old designed to prevent counterfeiting. The old safety features include the paper and ink that is used in printing the currency. These features remain the same because changing them would not enhance security. First of all, money is printed on a cotton and linen rag paper that contains many tiny red and blue fibers and has a very distinct texture. This paper is produced by a commercial company; however, it is illegal for anyone else to manufacture or use this special type of paper. Second, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing uses a secret formula to manufacture a special type of ink that is used in printing the $100 bills. Black ink is used on the front of the $100 bill, and green ink is used on the back.
Next, the new $100 bills contain safety features that were used previously but have now been modified or slightly changed. First, an additional letter has been added to the serial numbers that appear in the upper left and lower right corners of the $100 bill. The new serial numbers contain a combination of eleven numbers and letters. No two Federal Reserve Notes of the same denomination have the same serial number. This is an important factor in the detection of counterfeit notes. Counterfeiters tend to create large amounts of a particular denomination with the same serial number.
The second modified safety feature is the Federal Reserve Seal beneath the serial number on the left. A new universal seal has been created to represent the Federal Reserve System.
The third modified safety feature designed to prevent counterfeiting is the use of microprinted words in new places on the new $100 bills. Microprinted words are very small, and they appear smeared when copied. First, the word USA 100 is printed many times in the number 100 in the lower left hand corner of the bill. Second, the words United States of America are also printed in very small print on Benjamin Franklin s cloak. These words are so small that it is necessary to use a magnifying glass to view them clearly.
The final modified safety feature on the new $100 bills is the security thread. This polymer strip, with the words USA 100 printed in an up and down pattern on it, is embedded vertically in the $100 bill. This strip is visible from the front and back of the bill when the $100 bill is held up to a bright light. The thread also glows red when held under an ultraviolet light. This polymer thread cannot be reproduced with color copiers or laser scanners.
Finally, many new safety features have been added to the $100 bills in order to prevent counterfeiting. First of all, a larger portrait of Benjamin Franklin that is no longer centered on the $100 bill has been created to make the bill easier to recognize. It has been positioned more to the left in order to create room for other safety features and to prevent the face from being distorted quickly when the bill is folded. The portrait is also used by bank tellers to detect counterfeit money. Since bank tellers must arrange currency for deposit in a uniform way- face up and top up, they are are often able to detect counterfeit bills, which do not match the other bills.
The second new safety feature is the watermark depicting Benjamin Franklin that has been added to the right side of the bill. An image of Benjamin Franklin is visible on both sides when the bill is held up to the light.
The third new safety feature is the use of color shift ink. This color shift ink causes the bill to change colors when it is viewed from different angles. For example, the number 100 on the bottom right hand corner appears green when viewed straight on, but it appears black when viewed at an angle.
Lastly, concentric fine lines are also used as a safety feature. These fine lines are printed behind Benjamin Franklin s portrait on the front and Independence Hall on the back. These fine lines are very difficult to copy, and trying to copy them produces wavy and splotchy lines.
Overall, many attempts have been made to improve the features of US currency in order to prevent counterfeiting. The changes make the currency easier to recognize and more secure against the emerging technology that is used to create counterfeit bills. Although nothing can prevent a counterfeiter from attempting to make counterfeit money, these increased safety features make it more difficult for counterfeiters to succeed. Everyone should be aware of the safety features to look for to make sure that your money is not counterfeit. I know that I wouldn t want to be left with counterfeit currency that is worthless.