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Counterfeiting menace – 5

Counterfeiting menace 
on printed documents
Written by : N.R. Jayaraman

This article spread over to three or four parts discuss the
 nature of security features found on the security documents
 and other commercial documents of various kinds. 

Acts  of  Counterfeiters and views

Generally in so far as the security documents/instruments are concerned the counterfeiters try to use a similar paper of the same thickness. To insert the watermark they create a manually drawn line using wax and oily substances etc. To generate the forged thread they use thread width cut foil paper, enameled paper, very thin polythene sheets and thick flat threads. A careful look at such notes can easily reveal them as counterfeit. In the case of passports and stamps, these need to be examined very carefully.
Sometimes the counterfeiters produce banknotes and currencies using colour photocopiers, or print by offset for mass production after making photographic colour separation negatives or positives. They can be easily identified with careful look by even an average intelligent person. Only those uneducated in the villages are taken for ride to make them believe that such documents are genuine. Since the counterfeiters find it difficult to match intaglio printing quality- relief effect to finger feel-they use silk screen or powder fusion techniques. Still they can also be easily detected by an average intelligent person.  Since the counterfeited security instruments are  printed in very light colors with intricate designs containing thick and thin lines, guilloche patterns , the general public cannot easily recognize the true nature of  the prints as one need to look through magnifying lenses and other optical equipment in order to identify whether the documents are genuine. The counterfeiters take advantage of such a situation and often print the notes so well by simply copying them through photographic means and then printing the colors to match with the original. Therefore a mere look will not invite suspicion as long as the note looks the same. Stamps and bonds etc are produced in a similar fashion.
Small time counterfeiters insert the notes in bundles which go unnoticed until someone points out the fakes. The same applies to bonds and stamp papers, but documents like passports are not issued in bulk and therefore forgeries are limited in order to avoid instant detection. Most of the counterfeited instruments like Currencies and Bank Notes are generally exchanged in the remote areas and routed into the cities.
1) World over some research  group is working to develop counterfeited currency  destruction program  at the source of  issue i.e ATMs  inbuilt with  detectors cum shredder to be installed at all main points of issue such as Treasury, Banks, Post Offices and Issue Offices etc. Even if by mistake or mischief the counterfeited instruments are inserted into the bundles, such machines will identify  the counterfeited instruments  and destroy them online before issue. The machines can  issue only genuine currencies. 
When all such machines were connected to a central main computer at the enforcement agencies offices, it could then be possible to control any counterfeit menace quickly. Whenever any changes are made, they can be fed through the central control system and individual machine memories would be updated automatically. The two main advantages would be :-
– The origin of such counterfeits can be quickly identified  from the central control point.
– The extent of the counterfeited documents available can be assessed.
2) Counter measures in Design :-
– Adding more features in the security paper like electrolytic watermark, void printing incorporating magnetic fibers, holographic threads etc so that the cost of counterfeiting such features will become very high thus deterring the  petty small time counterfeiters from venturing in this art of counterfeiting .
– Adding  second or even third holographic images which should be visible when the security documents are viewed from different angles. Such features are available as patented products and have been included in some international currencies and security documents. -There are holographic reproduction processes which create different light or dark images of the pictorial contents to which can be added micro lettering, machine readable lettering, 3D images, kinematics etc.
-Laser-engraved logos of the issuing authority, as an additional logo or lettering to the deeply engraved intaglio printed images could be introduced in passports.
– Guilloche patterns made up of fine, interlacing curved, wavy and even straight lines in different thicknesses as anti copy features.  Different- colored structures of guilloche designs fit together perfectly to form a balanced overall picture. Print some of the Guilloche designs with invisible colors detectable only by special readers or which will show through when rubbed with the fingers (Low generated heat contact).
– Some researchers are also exploring the possibility to print designs within designs  something like Ghost images i.e.  within one set of design in light colors another set of design in another light color which can be incorporated and printed with specially manufactured invisible inks. Such inks should reveal the inner design  in specific colour when slightly rubbed with the fingers. The counterfeiters will find it extremely difficult to copy such designs or to manufacture such complex inks as the sources will remain secret and secure besides  high cost of manufacturing. 
3) Increasing the cost of manufacturing the currencies and security instruments  by incorporating more features instead of limiting only to five or six features.  The common security features are the latent image, see through, different thickness of lines, ghost images, micro letters, guilloche patterns, watermark portrait, see through number, iridescent maple leaves, hidden number, fine-line patterns, us of colors which cannot be copied, intaglio printing with varying depths, use of invisible inks, use of OVI in Intaglio, silk screen printing using OVI, etc.  Countries all over the world use only few from amongst these features. If more features are kept, no doubt the cost will go up per currency production, but it will discourage the counterfeiters from counterfeiting.
4) Form a Committee of experts consisting of technical experts, administrators, and law enforcement agencies which should meet at an agreed interval of six months. Analyse the counterfeited menace with supportive statistics, exchange views on the latest security feature developments for banknotes, currencies, passports, postal stationery etc. and suggest improvements for the next design .
The panel should be empowered to conduct trials on the designs of the security documents with new features and technology at the manufacturers premises, compile data and work out costs, carry out lab and physical tests by following laid down procedures. The recorded findings will become a definitive document in order to identify the best security features to be incorporated in the new documents as and when any changes become essential. This is perhaps practiced by well established Bank Note and Currency Producing units and security document producers  around the world. 

: Source for statistics shown above :  
Estimation of Counterfeit Currency Notes in India 
 Alternative Methodologies 


About The Author


Retired Govt of India Official. My hobby is to write articles that range from Printing technologies to Spiritual.

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