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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 44, October 29, 2006, Article 13

COUNTERFEIT DETECTION VIA SERIAL NUMBER

Leon Worden writes: "The line about "100 percent certainty" from the
woman at the bank was amusing, but checking potential counterfeit
notes against a list of serial numbers isn't far-fetched. Years ago
I worked in a bank and grew quite adept at detecting counterfeits.
When I had any doubts, I'd call the local office of the Secret Service,
 which would check the serial number against a hot list or hit list
or whatever they called it.

As noted in the last E-Sylum, counterfeiters often manufacture a
large number of bogus notes from a small number of real ones; thus,
many fakes will have the same serial number. If 100 or 1,000 copies
of the same note exist, odds are you weren't the first person to
find one with that serial number and report it to the Secret Service.

On the off-chance you are the first person to detect a note with
a particular serial number as counterfeit, the Secret Service adds
the serial number to the list when you send it in. (And if you've
tried everything and it doesn't detect as counterfeit and it isn't
on the Secret Service list but you're still unsure about it, you
have the choice of withholding $20 or $100 from the customer's
account and sending it in for verification, or accepting it and
going about your day. Guess what actually happens?)

Now, what if you're the holder of an original note that has been
copied, and its serial number is on the Secret Service list? It
doesn't matter. Either you're the counterfeiter, and the Secret
Service has found it in your possession during a raid, or you're
a law-abiding citizen to whom it was passed -- and because it is
authentic, no checker at the supermarket who swipes it with one
of those pens will think it's fake.

On a somewhat related topic, I love Tom DeLorey's latest idea
about copies of coins, medals and tokens. If they must exist,
make them significantly larger or smaller than the original!
Tom mentions that the Treasury Department "used to" have that
requirement for print reproductions of bank notes. Is that no
longer the case?"

[We've discussed the laws surrounding the illustration of
paper currency in previous E-Sylums.  In the March 28, 2004
issue, Martin Gengerke wrote:

 "For the record, I wrote the law regarding the photographic/
 print/media reproductions on U.S. Currency!

 Black and white photographs and color photographs are legal
 if they are less than 75% or more than 150% of actual size.
 Black and white and color transparencies are legal in any size.
 There are NO restrictions on the appearance of U.S. Currency
 in movies, television or stage performances whatsoever.
 Photos, slides, etc. are supposed to be for numismatic,
 educational, or advertising purposes, and the negatives/slides
 are supposed to be destroyed after use (but this is so hazy an
 area it is not enforced).

  TV MONEY NOW LEGAL
  esylum_v07n13a16.html

-Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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