Counterfeit cash still plagues the market
As of 2015, there is more than $147 million worth of fake US dollar bills circulating around the world. (File photo)
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With the rise in cheap printing technology, it would be easy to assume that more people may have been lured into making imitation currencies – and attempts to fool the average cashier may have been on the rise. As of 2015, there is about more than $147 million worth of fake US dollar bills circulating around the world, according to the United States Secret Service.
Authorities are not letting their guards down, however. In April 2015, an attempt by an African gang to sell and distribute $10 million in fake money in the country was foiled by the Criminal Investigation Department at Abu Dhabi Police.
But still, local currency and money transfer houses have intercepted some fake bills during exchange or remittance transactions. Counterfeit notes have also been detected at gas stations, grocery stores and other cash-intensive businesses.
According to Rajiv Raipancholia, Foreign Exchange and Remittance Group (FERG) secretary, fake bills don’t usually come in smaller denominations and the currencies commonly exchanged or transferred are US dollars and euros.
“Exchange houses usually get higher denomination of any fake currency. The main fake currencies identified are US dollars, euros, Great British pound and Indian rupees,” Raipancholia told Gulf News.
While fake currencies are still being detected, it may not mean that the country is increasingly becoming a counterfeiter’s favourite. It could mean that the staff at the tills are simply being more vigilant.
“Technology has played an excellent role in identifying notes at foreign exchange outlets. Each counting machine today can identify up to 15 currencies. There has been increasing awareness in the last three to four years in identifying counterfeit notes,” said Raipancholia.
“The counting machines need to be regularly serviced and updated in terms of software as fraudsters are always trying to prepare note that pass through such machines.”
Merchants also warned that every time they encounter fake bills, they immediately alert the authorities. “It is up to the police to decide on the next course of action. They would need to go to the root cause of where the fake notes came from.”
The organisation of businesses engaged in money exchange and remittances has recently organised a training session to raise awareness of counterfeit bank notes among the staff handling the cash registers. The activity was part of the ongoing drive to raise awareness of counterfeited bank notes.
“Counterfeiting has serious repercussions for global economies. It reduces the value of real money, and can result in decreased acceptability of paper money as consumers and businesses lose trust in currency. This can in turn increase the costs of doing business. If not vetted carefully, counterfeit notes can also result in losses when trades are not reimbursed,” said FERG chairman Osama Al Rahma.
Money transfer and foreign exchange agents have been trained how to intercept fake currencies. One of the steps is feeling the banknote, as fake bills are known to give away a different texture. “Real banknotes are often Intaglio printed –a method that produces subtle reliefs on the print, giving it a raised feel,” FERG said in a statement.
“The next move is staff members can use a UV lamp to reveal ultraviolet security measures, or check for optically variable ink and latent images.”
By Cleofe Maceda