(Corrects spelling of company's name in second paragraph.)
The latest generation of counterfeit U.S. hundred dollar bills are so close to the real thing they are impossible to detect with the human eye. Yoshihide Matsumura’s machines catch them.
Using ultraviolet and infrared rays as well as magnetic field sensors, the founder of Matsumura Engineering Co., is targeting the fake U.S. bills that are popping up in countries from South America to Asia and the Middle East.
Matsumura calls the new counterfeits “Super S,” which stands for “super special”. They’re a forgery of the Series 1996-2003A $100 note that features an image of Benjamin Franklin. The Series 2009A $100 notes introduced in October 2013 have a 3-D security ribbon making them more difficult to fake.
“Humans can't identify the new counterfeit bills and most of the detectors used in financial institutions are useless against them” says Matsumura. “The paper and ink used for the counterfeit bill are almost the same as genuine ones.”
Matsumura, who also works as a counterfeit advisor for law-enforcement agencies in Japan and the U.S., first detected the new counterfeits last fall. He coined the term for a previous generation of counterfeits known as “Super K” – they likely originated in North Korea.
The latest “Super S” counterfeit has been detected in more than eleven countries including Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Brazil, according to Matsumura.
According to a study listed in the Federal Reserve’s website, at the end of 2011, roughly 62 percent of U.S. hundred dollar bills were in circulation outside the United States. And be warned – the U.S. Secret Service says that if caught and successfully prosecuted, counterfeiters can be fined and imprisoned for up to 15 years.