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How to Distinguish Counterfeit Money
By Choi Ha-ram Cub Reporter, Freshman of Japanese
Case “77246” is where one man has been forging and distributing 50,000 copies of a 5,000 won bill which had the serial number, 77246, for 9 years, from 2004. It is a representative example of a counterfeit money criminal incident in the Republic of Korea. The criminal was arrested in 2013, but additional counterfeit money was later discovered.
If someone counterfeits money in South Korea, they are punished with imprisonment of over 2 years, or a life sentence. Once in the Yuan Dynasty, there was a law that a person who made counterfeit notes could be punished with the death penalty. Counterfeit money crime is a serious crime that threatens the national economy and devalues money. Forging crimes should not happen, but even if they do, we should be able to distinguish between real money and counterfeit money to minimize the damage. Also, it is necessary to be careful when handling paper money, because counterfeit money may still be circulating somewhere.
1. Shine a light on it.
If you find suspicious paper money among Korean bills, shine a light on it. With real paper money, you will be able to observe a hidden picture on the left side where there is no painting. The person’s gaze in this hidden picture is opposite to the person’s gaze drawn on the front of the bill. In the case of a thousand won bill, If you shine a light on the paper money, a hidden series of lines appear on a silver line that is shaped as a dotted line, and in the case of the 50,000 won bill, if you tilt it in various directions, the Taegeuk pattern, drawn in three dimensions, seems to move. However, counterfeit bills will look the same, depending on the light.
2. Tilt it
Tilt the suspicious bills. Real paper money is different in color, and the pictures shown in the holograms are different, depending on the angle. It is said that, depending on the angle of view, the holograms of the 50,000 won, 10,000 won, and 5,000 won bills include both the map of the Korean peninsula, the Taegeuk pattern, and the four trigrams. In addition, since color conversion ink is used, the color of the face values, on the bottom on the back of the bill, changes according to the angle. However, with counterfeit bills, there is no change in the face value’s color, and the pictures do not appear alternately, even if there are holograms.
3. Touch it
You can distinguish between real bills and counterfeit bills through your sense of touch. Real banknotes are printed convexly with letters, numbers, and braille parts, so you can feel the rugged surface when you touch it with your hands. However, counterfeit bills are often not like that.
4. Wet it
If there is water nearby, try to slightly wet the paper money. Real paper money is specially treated, so even if water gets on it, the ink of the banknotes does not spread. However, counterfeit bills are affected by water, so the ink often smudges or gets onto your hands.
The Bank of Korea says that it is necessary to have a habit of touching with your hands, tilting it, and checking paper money in the light, since paper money counterfeiting crime continues to occur.
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You can do this when you are assured that it is a counterfeit bill, after comparing it with the characteristics of the real ones which are proposed above.
1. If you think it is counterfeit money when you receive paper money from a customer: Do not return that money to the person who gave it to you. Take as much time as possible and observe the person so you can make an accurate description. If they come by car, you can write down their car number.
2. If you discover counterfeit money after the customer leaves: Do not try to return it to the customers, but report them in envelopes with caution in handling to avoid erasing any fingerprints.
3. If an ordinary citizen finds it: Put it in an envelope and report it to a nearby police station or bank.
At the time of the 77246 incident, a citizen’s careful observation and reporting helped prevent further damage. As that citizen did, you may encounter counterfeit money criminals, too. After you read this article, how would you react?