Banknote counterfeiting is a constantly increasing phenomenon, despite the efforts of the authorities to hinder its spread which are based on the introduction of increasingly sophisticated and difficult to copy identification marks. In recent years, however, banknote counterfeiters have achieved such precision that it is increasingly difficult to detect counterfeit banknotes. Among the methods that have now entered the technical baggage of counterfeiters are, for example, the use of particular inks and chemical products detectable by ultraviolet, capable of misleading control instruments based on UV rays. Counterfeiters are also able to copy other elements such as the presence of parts of the banknote in relief (easily detectable by touch), holograms, holographic stripes on the sides, watermarks, printing registers and security threads, many of which are only visible when backlit . An expert and trained eye, upon careful visual examination, might even be able to identify a fake banknote but this is completely impractical when money is continuously handled as happens, for example, at bank counters or at the supermarket or tobacconist. Such an analysis is also impractical for the consumer who receives change and who certainly has neither the time nor the skills to visually verify the quality of the banknotes received. To avoid the risk of finding simple waste paper in your wallet, you can therefore use counterfeit banknote detectors, which are very valid aids for identifying counterfeit banknotes.
How does it work
The counterfeit banknote detector is a real concentration of technology which, thanks to the presence of particular sensors, is able to carry out tests on the characteristics of the banknotes. The analysis methodologies used by the detectors are:
- white light : this is the common light emitted by a light bulb, which is used in the form of reflected light and transmitted light. Thanks to the reflected light, small details of the print and any corrections or deletions which are an indication of counterfeiting can be highlighted. Transmitted light, on the other hand, allows you to check the presence of elements visible against the light such as the security thread, the watermark and the printing register;
- ultraviolet rays : these electromagnetic radiations allow us to observe all those details not visible to the human eye. Real banknotes are in fact characterized by elements that can only be detected by UV lighting, which makes them fluorescent and allows the characteristic identification signs to stand out;
- infrared rays : this is another type of electromagnetic radiation, also not visible to the human eye. Thanks to infrared rays it is possible to observe the typical identification signs of banknotes and highlight the characteristics of the materials that compose them, such as the magnetic ink with which real banknotes are printed;
- spectrography . It consists of the most detailed and reliable examination ever, since it is based on the use of a broad spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. This method is based on the reaction of the components of the banknote to the different wavelengths emitted by the detector; in this way it is possible to precisely identify the composition of all the substances present in the banknote.
Types of detectors
On the market you can find counterfeit banknote detectors suitable for all needs. For example, portable detectors, small in size and powered by batteries or lithium batteries, are very widespread, very useful for example for taxi drivers and for those who have to check takings while working in places where an electrical outlet is not available. Many of these portable detectors are very small in size, and can be clipped onto a key ring. Modern banknote detectors are very fast and efficient: it generally takes less than a second to check a banknote, and thanks to these devices it is possible to quickly test a large amount of money. The accuracy of the detector is usually independent of the wear conditions of the banknotes; the operation of this device can in some cases be kept optimal by downloading specific software updates. This happens for banknote detectors equipped with a USB port that can be connected to the computer. Many detectors allow you to check not only euro banknotes, but also those of other currencies such as the US dollar, the British pound and the Swiss franc. Models intended for professional use can control eight or more different currencies. These tools are ideal for exchange offices, hotels, tourist and airport facilities. Among the most innovative models for professional use are counterfeit banknote detectors associated with banknote counters, which allow you to process and count large quantities of cash in a short time. Among the very practical portable detectors there are also "markers", instruments equipped with a particular type of ink which, in contact with the magnetic ink present on real banknotes, leaves no mark. On the contrary, in the presence of fake banknotes a colored trace is highlighted.
Reliability of the detection
It is important to remember that the accuracy of counterfeit banknote detectors is in no way to be considered absolute, especially as regards non-professional ones. In these cases, the instrument can indicate the presence of any "suspicious" banknotes, but the final judgment always lies with the user. This is due to the fact that, in analyzing the banknote, the less expensive detectors simply use a light source which allows the presence of only some of the elements that distinguish the original banknotes to be verified. By using professional counterfeit banknote detectors you have additional guarantees regarding the accuracy of the detection, since these are based on a more in-depth analysis of the banknote. These devices, using different detection methodologies (ultraviolet, infrared and other wavelengths), allow greater reliability the more tests they are able to perform. However, it is not certain that only professional detectors are equipped with the most accurate devices: in fact, portable models are also increasingly spreading on the market which, in addition to detection based on white light, also use the magnetic test.
Where to buy
Naturally, the more precise and high-tech the banknote detectors are, the more their cost increases. In fact, they range from simpler banknote detectors, which cost a few tens of euros, to professional-type instruments costing several hundred euros. The choice of detector must therefore be made on the basis of the real control needs, evaluating the pros and cons of the investment. The banknote detector can be purchased at large electronics chain stores, specialized sales points and also on the internet; this last option usually allows you to choose between numerous models and take advantage of discounted prices or special offers reserved for the web. If you are not competent in the sector, however, it is always a good idea to contact a shop where you can get advice on the best model for your needs. Regardless of the model chosen, it is essential that the detector is duly approved. The certainty of purchasing a properly functioning device is in fact the approval by the European Central Bank (ECB) or the Bank of Spain (Banco de España). If doubts arise about an instrument, the quickest and most immediate way to verify its reliability is to consult the website of the European Central Bank where you can find information on the approved models.
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