be careful of going for the lowest price - if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. The price could be lower due to a number of factors:- counterfeit product - not made to the same standards as the original and will be illegal for sale in the UK and may also have the issues below- cheaper material and design that is less durable or unsafe, e.g., high levels of restricted chemicals- correct legal testing and assessments of products is very expensive and means genuinely safe products can cost more to manufacture
Despite endless pronouncements that cash is dead, the underground market for fake money is thriving. In 2022, there was an approximately 91% increase in deep and dark web market listings advertising counterfeit banknotes (Figure 1). During this time, the number of unique actors selling these fake bills increased by approximately 82%.
The vastly increased supply and growth of suppliers of counterfeit currency may result from the proliferation of advanced printing technology and techniques, which enable more actors to produce convincing counterfeits with less difficulty. For example, a Massachusetts man was recently sentenced to prison after printing over $400K in fake bills in an at-home operation that used an inkjet printer.
An examine the quantity of feedback given to these market listings implies that this currency is of higher quality: Despite the overall rise in fake money advertised on the underground, there was an approximately 53% decrease in feedback (replies) to these listings.
Suppose we assume customers are more likely to write feedback when dissatisfied with the transaction. In that case, the inverse relationship between posts advertising counterfeit money and feedback on these posts suggests that customers are increasingly satisfied with the product and the supplier.
There are several qualitative standards that banknotes must meet. Sellers list these standards in the descriptions of almost every post advertising counterfeit money (Figures 4 and 5). For example, sellers generally guarantee that bills are untraceable, contain watermarks, and are capable of passing fake pen tests (which detect starch, a substance found in most paper but not in the paper used for American currency). Sellers also specify the uses for which their counterfeit bills are suitable. For example, some bills are suitable for on-site cash payments at stores and retail locations. Other bills are ideal for ATMs, money changers, casinos, or vending machines.
The type of use can reflect the quality of counterfeit bills. Higher-quality bills will pass automated detection methods, such as those used by ATMs or other money-processing machines that detect fake bills. Sellers attempt to attract buyers by listing various uses for their counterfeit money.
The circulation of counterfeit notes can impact businesses, individuals, and economies as a whole. Counterfeiters continuously leverage new technologies to incorporate new currency designs and security features, according to the leading global money laundering and terror financing watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Despite the rise of digital currencies, the large volume of posts advertising counterfeit currency on the underground indicates the enduring relevance of cash. Unfortunately, the ultimate victims of money counterfeiting operations are the stores, local businesses, and individuals who accept cash payments.
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Counterfeit money is currency produced without the legal sanction of a state or government, usually in a deliberate attempt to imitate that currency and so as to deceive its recipient. Producing or using counterfeit money is a form of fraud or forgery, and is illegal. The business of counterfeiting money is nearly as old as money itself: plated copies (known as Fourrées) have been found of Lydian coins, which are thought to be among the first Western coins. Before the introduction of paper money, the most prevalent method of counterfeiting involved mixing base metals with pure gold or silver. Another form of counterfeiting is the production of documents by legitimate printers in response to fraudulent instructions.[clarification needed] During World War II, the Nazis forged British pounds and American dollars. Today some of the finest counterfeit banknotes are called Superdollars because of their high quality and imitation of the real US dollar. There has been significant counterfeiting of Euro banknotes and coins since the launch of the currency in 2002, but considerably less than that of the US dollar.
Counterfeiting is sufficiently prevalent throughout history that it has been called \"the world's second-oldest profession\". Coinage of money began in the region of Lydia around 600 B.C. Before the introduction of paper money, the most prevalent method of counterfeiting involved mixing base metals with pure gold or silver. A common practice was to \"shave\" the edges of a coin. This is known as \"clipping\". Precious metals collected in this way could be used to produce counterfeit coinage. A fourrée is an ancient type of counterfeit coin, in which a base metal core has been plated with a precious metal to resemble its solid metal counterpart.
When paper money was introduced in China in the 13th century, wood from mulberry trees was used to make money. To control access to the paper, guards were stationed around mulberry forests, while counterfeiters were punished by death.
In the 13th century, Mastro Adamo was mentioned by Dante Alighieri as a counterfeiter of the Florentine fiorino, punished with death by hanging. The English couple Thomas and Anne Rogers were convicted on 15 October 1690 for \"Clipping 40 pieces of Silver\". Thomas Rogers was hanged, drawn, and quartered while Anne Rogers was burnt alive. Evidence supplied by an informant led to the arrest of the last of the English Coiners \"King\" David Hartley, who was executed by hanging in 1770. The extreme forms of punishment were meted out for acts of treason against the State or Crown rather than a simple crime.
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Irish immigrants to London were particularly associated with the spending (uttering) of counterfeit money, while locals were more likely to participate in the safer and more profitable forms of currency crime, which could take place behind locked doors. These include producing the false money and selling it wholesale.
Similarly, in America, Colonial paper currency printed by Benjamin Franklin and others often bore the phrase \"to counterfeit is death\". Counterfeiting nevertheless became so prevalent by the early nineteenth century that contemporary accounts like those from author John Neal claimed that as much as half of the US currency in circulation was counterfeit. By the 1830s, American newspapers began listing instructions for identifying counterfeits. Because currency was issued by individual banks, there were approximately 5,400 types of counterfeit bills in the US by the 1860s.
Nations have used counterfeiting as a means of warfare. The idea is to overflow the enemy's economy with fake banknotes so that the real value of the money plummets. Great Britain did this during the American Revolutionary War to reduce the value of the Continental Dollar. The counterfeiters for the British were known as \"shovers\", presumably for the ability to \"shove\" the fake currency into circulation. Two of the most well-known shovers for the British during the Revolutionary War were David Farnsworth and John Blair. They were caught with 10,000 dollars in counterfeits when arrested. George Washington took a personal interest in their case and even called for them to be tortured to discover further information. They were eventually hanged for their crimes.
During the American Civil War, the Confederate States dollar was heavily counterfeited by private interests on the Union side, often without the sanction of the Union government in Washington. The Confederacy's access to modern printing technology was limited, while many Northern-made imitations were printed on high-quality banknote paper procured through extralegal means. As a result, counterfeit Southern notes were often equal or even superior in quality compared to genuine Confederate money.
A form of counterfeiting is the production of documents by legitimate printers in response to fraudulent instructions. An example of this is the Portuguese Bank Note Crisis of 1925, when the British banknote printers Waterlow and Sons produced Banco de Portugal notes equivalent in value to 0.88% of the Portuguese nominal Gross Domestic Product, with identical serial numbers to existing banknotes, in response to a fraud perpetrated by Alves dos Reis. Similarly, in 1929 the issue of postage stamps celebrating the millennium of Iceland's parliament, the Althing, was compromised by the insertion of \"1\" on the print order, before the authorized value of stamps to be produced (see Postage stamps and postal history of Iceland).
In December 1925 a high-profile counterfeit scandal came to light, when three people were arrested in the Netherlands while attempting to disseminate forged French 1000-franc bills which had been produced in Hungary. Subsequent investigations uncovered evidence that plot had received widespread support in Hungarian and German nationalist circles including the pa