Saturday, September 11

Follow-up on counterfeiting

Several years ago the US Treasury decided to make American money harder to counterfeit. They completely redesigned the paper currency and introduced the now-ubiquitous polyester thread sandwiched between the two sheets of paper that make up every denomination except the one-dollar bill (See? I told you that’s the one to go after!). Hold the bill up to the light and you can see USA 10 or USA 50 or whatever printed on the thread depending on the denomination. Also the thread glows under ultraviolet light, in a different color for each denomination. They added a watermark to the paper repeating the portrait featured in the central engraving. Subtle colors of ink are used to print faint images in the background that are very difficult or impossible to duplicate with an ink-jet printer, or any other printer for that matter. Commonly-used computer programs such as Adobe Photoshop, once the counterfeiter’s ally, now have currency-detecting features that disable the printing function. We’re screwed.

I read an article that referred to all the counterfeit-foiling features of the new money. A treasury official noted everything mentioned above, and concluded with: “And we shifted the presidents’ portraits to the left, off-center.” Whoa! That was the topper, the killer to any counterfeiting effort! They put the portrait off-center! I can just imagine the outrage and upset from all the world’s counterfeiters. They must have thrown their hands in the air and said, “I quit! They moved the portrait off-center! That’s WAY too hard to copy!”

No comments: