Ever wonder where counterfeit U.S. dollar bills come from?
Turns out, Peru is the biggest pipeline for these fake dollars.
During the past two years, according to the Secret Service, Peru has overtaken Colombia as the No. 1 source of fraudulent U.S. dollars. To combat the Peruvian counterfeit threat, the Secret Service set up a permanent office in Lima last year.
Counterfeiters, according to a fascinating Associated Press article, can earn up to $20,000 in real money for every $100,000 in fake bills they produce after expenses. Crooks have discovered that counterfeiting is much more lucrative than producing cocaine.
Apparently, Peruvian criminals excel at counterfeiting dollars and euros and apply more craftsmanship to the job than typical counterfeiters. The crooks use software such as Corel Draw or Microsoft Office to create the design. They rely on huge offset machines to print the bills.
Counterfeiters then use needles to insert security strips into the bills and affix them with glue that they apply with medical syringes. They pass the varnished bills through rollers covered with course fabric to give them a rough finish and they are finally sanded down.
Criminals can make $300,000 in counterfeit bills in four or five days. No wonder it’s a popular crime.
On its website, the U.S. Government provides tips on how you can detect counterfeit bills. Here is one of the federal agents’ tips:
On real bills, the portrait appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background. The counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat. Details merge into the background which is often too dark or mottled. The fake bill is the one on the right: