The myth-debunking site Snopes.com tackled the question of whether wrapping bills in tinfoil keeps them from being detected by scanning devices.
Origins: In December 2013, swindlers insisted their Madison, Wisconsin, victim wrap 150 $20 bills in tinfoil, place them in a magazine, put the magazine in a FedEx envelope, and send it to them at an address in Los Angeles. They did so secure in the belief that encasing the money in foil would prevent its detection by law enforcement as it made its way to them.
This story has a happy ending, in that the money was not sent directly to the swindlers but rather to a woman they had duped into being their intermediary via the reshipper scam. When contacted by the person defrauded, that other victim promised to return the cash, minus a hundred dollars. Which she did.
What brings this tale of fraud averted into the realm of contemporary lore is the swindlers' belief that enrobing the large number of bills in aluminum foil would shield the cash from detection by any scanning device the package was passed through on its trip. In this, they engineered a mishmash composed of a pair of false beliefs already present in the canon of urban folklore plus a bit of actual truth from the realm of technology.
First is the widespread belief that U.S. currency contains a hidden feature that makes it detectable by the government. That secret element is present, supposedly, to help the Feds pick up on large sums of American cash being moved in and out of the country, plus serves as a way for law enforcement to pinpoint those carrying large amounts of cash on their persons who are therefore
likely to be engaged in illicit activities. While it is true U.S. currency contains a number of security features, including an embedded polyester strip within each larger denomination bill, those components serve to thwart counterfeiters and nothing more. Nothing about any of those anti-counterfeiting details works any sort of magic that would allow Uncle Sam to count the money in your pocket.
To read the complete article, see:
Claim: Wrapping bills in tinfoil keeps them from being detected by scanning devices.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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