CTT’s currency tracking technology will provide the most advanced network and data management tools available to law enforcement and federal agencies. There are many hurdles for counterfeiters to overcome and modern technology has given them an advantage but CTT’s software combined with modern currency scanners can detect even the best of forgeries.
Technology Favors The Bold
Perhaps you’ve heard of Frank Bourassa, who ordered fine paper from Switzerland, ink from China, and became a master at offset printing, all with information he found on the internet. He printed over $250M in US currency and spent only six weeks in jail after his operation was busted in Canada.
According to the Secret Service, which was created by Abraham Lincoln to shut down counterfeiting operations, nearly 80% of counterfeit currency goes undetected. They seized $88.7M in 2013.
Of the fake money they capture, 60% is made using inkjet or laser printers. Some counterfeiters are using automobile paint to match the color-shifting security marks on real bills. The highest quality foreign counterfeits are produced using intaglio methods, identical to the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and are generally one hundred dollar denominations while domestic forgeries tend to be twenties. These foreign-printed large notes are called “Superbills” and often pass all the tests for the latest security features.
There has been some speculation by the Secret Service that the higher-end fakes may be the result of government involvement by countries such as Iran or Syria, or criminal gangs in North Korea, Russia, and even China.
Initially, paper money was issued by banks. Can you imagine? Sounds as confusing as cryptocurrency. Forgers were printing fake bills then, too.
Eventually, States began issuing currency. And, in 1913, the U.S. government declared the Federal Reserve as its central bank. Over the years paper money has been redesigned to stay ahead of counterfeiters.
Today’s security features include UV fluorescent materials integrated into the paper which only appear under the proper wavelength of UV light, intricate scrolling, both green and black ink, special paper, and holographic images.
Many counterfeiters completely bail on these features and settle for “good enough.”
Once they have a reasonable copy, they’ll produce a large amount of the note and then face the difficulty of distributing them. Some forgers sell their printed paper for ten to twenty cents on the dollar to criminal organizations already laundering tons of money.
Most fake bills end up involved in some form of illegal activity. Organized crime networks use counterfeit money to finance illegal activities such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, and terrorism.
Busting Their Bills
CTT will provide the hardware and software to assist in the immediate detection of counterfeit currency, especially focusing on superbills.
There are three major categories of detection for CTT.
The first is a series of physical examinations, essentially what is currently being done with multi- test intelligent currency scanners or validators, using optical and magnetic sensors to determine that the bill was printed with the proper size, inks and materials.
The most sophisticated tests to be used by CTT include the application of various light sources including ultraviolet (UV), infrared and visible light. The glow produced by UV fluorescent ink is measured through wavelengths.
Other tests include magnified image examination, the reading of magnetic ink characters (MICR – Magnetic Ink Character Recognition), and the analysis of metameric, optically variable, and infrared inks, as well as iridescent coatings.
Algorithms designed to interpret the results will provide the ability to identify, specifically, what type of banknote has just been examined.
Because of CTT’s advanced currency tracking technology, a second test will check currency serial numbers against the database of all currency issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. This data is found at http://www.uspapermoney.info/serials/. Most counterfeiters issue bills that have legitimate serial numbers.
The third test will check bills against CTT’s database of counterfeit currency that was turned in and recorded by law enforcement. Because of CTT’s currency tracking technology, law enforcement will provide counterfeit currency information, including the flaw details, which will enable other agencies to determine and analyze patterns of counterfeit activity throughout the world.