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History of Counterfeit Money

Author: Date:2012-10-8 12:48:20

Counterfeit money actually has a very long history, which means the concept is not really all that new. Currency has been around for a long time and with currency comes greed. They say that money is the root of all evil and counterfeiting is definitely not an exception. It involves creating artificial money for financial gain and deceives others in making them believe that it is real. It contributes to inflation that hurts the pocket books of people all over the world, it damages economies, and it hurts the reputations of the central banks of countries that are innocent because they are not the ones creating the fake cash. That is why governments impose harsh penalties against those caught making fake money.

But exactly how long has counterfeiting money been around? Well, it is true to say that it has been around about as long as money has been around. But how long has legitimate money been around? Well, it has been around approximately 2,700 years. Before that, our ancestors were trading sheep and cattle to get what they needed. They worked to acquire the things they had, but money was not their compensation. Their compensation was things needed in everyday living. The introduction of money changed everything, including how honestly some people made their living. Money became the way in which people acquired things, therefore things such as poverty worsened.


It was approximately 700 B.C. that real currency made its debut in the form of coins. It was within a hundred years of coins being introduced as currency that counterfeiting began. With it, the punishments began as well. Many cultures imposed death upon those caught counterfeiting coins. The practice wasn't very difficult since the fake coins could very easily be made of metals that held no value, but looked like the real thing.

But it was in 1650 A.D. that paper money was developed and counterfeiting flourished, especially within America where counterfeit money was more common than genuine money. Counterfeiters had become so skilled that when the first federal coins were issued by the U.S. government in the 1780's, they had the dies cut by an ex-counterfeiter in order to deter the practice, but it was during the Civil War that counterfeiting flourished once more because the United States government issued paper money for the first time.

As a result of this counterfeiting, the Secret Service was developed just to enforce the counterfeiting laws. Their job was to find the counterfeiters before the money ever made it into the money supply. Eventually, the Secret Service's operations expanded to include the protection of the president, which is on a completely different spectrum from deterring counterfeiting, which was an operation conducted by the Treasury.

However, it was the late twentieth century that brought about machinery such as color copiers and other electronic devices that made counterfeiting easier. It is estimated that nearly $10 billion in counterfeit bills were circulated between 1990 and 1995. That is why the United States began making changes to their bills in 1996, beginning with the $100 bill. The United States Treasury believes that the new designs on the bills make counterfeiting almost impossible, but with each change it is just a matter of time before counterfeiters find new ways to duplicate the bills.

That is why the governments all over the world are imposing harsher penalties such as 15 years in prison on top of fines and restitution for the damage caused. They have also developed advanced methods to track down those creating counterfeit bills. In the end, the counterfeiters must know that they will get caught.