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We live in a high-tech world, which is great for the most part. One problem with a high-tech world, though, is that we have to share it with high-tech criminals, and a big area of crime where the crooks have benefited from technology is counterfeiting. To stay ahead of these tech-savvy counterfeiters, almost all countries incorporate a number of counterfeit detection technologies into the production of their currencies: everything from specific watermarks and micro-printing to plastic threads and holograms. One of the most common and affordable methods of banknote security is ultraviolet or UV counterfeit detection. Here’s how it works:

UV Counterfeit Security Features in Currency

Many banknotes today are printed partly using inks containing UV-fluorescent phosphors that glow when exposed to ultraviolet light. For example, by placing a £20 UK note under an UV light, the “20” will glow in a red and green checkered pattern. Additionally, the US has begun embedding fluorescent stripes into the rag paper of all of its bills, with the exclusion of the $1 dollar denomination. But producing currency with UV counterfeit features is only half the story.

UV Detection Devices

The purpose of including UV security features in banknotes is to allow those that take in currency – government agencies, banks, businesses, and others – the ability to distinguish fake bills from real ones. And to do that takes a UV counterfeit detection device. UV detection devices come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, beginning with small, hand-held and stand-alone detectors that feature a UV light source under which the user places a single bill. These units are affordable and may be sufficient for individuals and some small businesses.

Money counting machines are an ideal choice for businesses and others that handle more cash than can be efficiently checked with a single-bill detector. Most modern bill counting machines are equipped with UV counterfeit detection capabilities and are both affordable and effective.

How Effective is UV Counterfeit Bill Detection?

UV counterfeit detection is not 100% successful. No counterfeit detection method is. Beating UV security features is quite difficult, however, so UV detection remains a primary form of defense in the war against counterfeit cash.
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