Nashville strippers finger net forger
Fake $100 bills fail naked lady test
A Tennessee man who downloaded an image of a $100 bill from the internet, printed himself some instant cash and proceeded directly to a Nashville strip joint was cuffed after suspicious staff called in the cops, AP reports.
Damon Armagost, of Smyrna, allegedly splashed $600 in fake currency at the Deja Vu club on 16 April. When the police arrived, he initially told them he'd acquired the money "when he sold gold coins for $1,400 to an unidentified person".
However, US secret service operatives subsequently discovered that counterfeit bills with the same serial number had popped up in other parts of the country, and a member of Armagost's family told agents he'd had an image of a $100 bill on his home computer.
The master criminal then coughed to having "downloaded the image from the internet and printed 14 of the bills". Last Friday he pleaded guilty to "manufacturing and passing counterfeit currency", and will be sentenced on 5 November. ®
Probably not so difficult.
I don't know about the alleged features in scanners and printers that would prevent someone from scanning or printing a currency image. I've never tried it. I don't want to go to prison (they allow all sorts of riffraff in there). I'm not convinced that these claims are much more than urban legends.
It seems to me that scanners in the US might be devised to recognize US currency, but perhaps scanners in other countries don't do this - perhaps being set up to recognize that country's currency, instead. I'd be surprised to hear that scanners are all set up to recognize currencies from all countries, or even from a bunch of them.
However, it should be simple enough to take an ordinary photograph of a bill, using a digital camera and a decent lens (to avoid barrel/pincushion distortion). Whatever way it was done, someone managed to upload an image of US currency.
As for detection, well many of those safeguards are useful for purposes of prosecution, but are not necessarily ones the ordinary person would rely upon. You can certainly look for the security strip, if you care that much. But in a dimly-lit club, that feature might not be too helpful. There are tiny red and blue threads in the paper, but you'd need good light, and a magnifying lens, to make them out.
As for the serial number - how many people really check those out? Do you read your currency? Probably not, unless you've been using mind-altering substances, in which case water dripping from a faucet might seem enormously amusing - and currency serial numbers? Utterly fascinating.
Print out the bills on decent bond paper, and crumple them a bit, and they'll likely pass muster in some places. Still, doing this is a very bad idea, because the US government has no sense of humor. Counterfeiting is rampant, and it's hard to catch someone doing it. When they *do* get hold of someone, they tend to make an example out of him...
No EURion here, apparently
According to the wikipedia article, New Zealand does not use the EURion constellation in its notes but we have similar note technology to the Aussies - polymer notes with "clear" windows (picture inside them), lots of colours and complicated designs.
According to http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/currency/money/polymer.pdf published by the Reserve Bank of NZ, the notes have the following security features:
"1. Each polymer note has two transparent windows. One of the transparent windows is oval-shaped and sloping and has the denomination numerals
embossed in it. The other clear window is in the shape of a curved fern leaf.
2. There is a fern immediately above the clear fern-shaped window. When you hold the note to the light, the fern should match perfectly with another fern
on the other side.
3. You should easily be able to see a shadow image of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II when you hold the note to the light.
4. Each note has an individual serial number printed horizontally and vertically.
5. Polymer notes have raised printing, which stands up on the surface and can be felt when you run your fingers over it.
6. Tiny micro-printed letters “RBNZ” should be visible with a magnifying glass.
7. Under an ultraviolet light the polymer note appears dull. Most commercial papers used in forgeries will glow under an ultraviolet light. However, polymer
notes contain special inks, which make particular features glow under an ultraviolet light. For example, the front of each genuine note has a fluorescent
patch showing the denomination numerals, which can only be seen under an ultraviolet light."
And the special "Millennium Edition" of the $10 note had, in addition to all of the above:
"One of the security features on the $10 millennium notes is a special "see-through" window. If you fold the bank note over and look through the clear window at the map of New Zealand next to the canoe, the letters `Y2K' become visible.
Another innovative security feature is the two silver ferns within the clear window, which reflect rainbow colours when you tilt the note to the light."
After all that, EURion constellations would be a bit of overkill.
That, and replacing the two most circulated notes ($1 and $2) with coins, makes it pretty damned hard to forge our currency. (And very easy to blow $20 in "loose change" a week without realising you've done so.)
I'm waiting for the $5 coin to be released when they decide that money is not circulating fast enough and elect to turn another note into "annoying change" to be blown on vending machines. The one- and two-cent coins went the way of the Dodo ages ago and the 5-cent coin has recently followed them, so the time is probably ripe for a 5-dollar coin to be minted under the feeble excuse that "the notes are getting costly to replace" when what they mean is "you're not spending the buggers fast enough, lets make you WANT to get them out of your pocket..."
For some *really* colourful currency, see the Dutch 50, 100, and 250 banknotes (http://www.unipas.nl/coins/scans/50g1982.htm, http://www.unipas.nl/coins/scans/100g1977.htm, and http://www.unipas.nl/coins/scans/250g1985.htm, respectively). These daring designs (by Oxenaar) as well as others earned the Dutch banknotes worldwide recognition. All were unfortunately rendered obsolete by the introduction of the Euro in 2002.