This Copier Knows A Bogus Buck When It Sees One

Color copiers have become a major headache for the U.S. Secret Service, which tracks counterfeiters of the almighty dollar. It seems the latest machines are so good that professional criminals have used them, and office workers are getting the bug.

Copier makers are pitching in to thwart this trend. Two years ago, Minolta Corp. upped the chances of detection by stamping every color copy with a next-to-invisible code identifying the machine that made it. Now, Canon Inc. is set to announce what could be the ultimate weapon: a chip that tells copiers to ignore currency. The chip contains digitized images of key details from a dozen or so bank notes. When the copier spots an image, the machine won't make a duplicate and spits out a blacked-out copy. Look for anticounterfeiting chips to show up next year--and eventually to become standard equipment on Canon color copiers.

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