With the modern explosion of technology and growth of electronic payments, most small businesses and individuals are no longer worried about counterfeit currency, as online and electronic fraud has become a bigger, scarier problem. Although it may seem like online fraud is more common and favored amongst fraudsters in 2014, small business owners mustn’t forget about the very real threat that is counterfeit currency. Even with all the clever, difficult-to-imitate features that the Federal Reserve has put on notes over the years, criminals still manage to counterfeit notes with the use of their own advanced technology. To avoid becoming a victim of counterfeit fraud, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Counterfeit bills rarely end up at banks, and if they do, they aren’t accepted. So if you’re looking for a 100% guarantee of real currency, you can usually trust your bank. Places where you might be at greater risk for accepting counterfeit currency are night clubs, fast food restaurants, or convenient stores, so when you patronize those types of places pay special attention to the bills you receive from them. Also, if you are a small business owner, you are definitely at risk for losing money due to counterfeit currency – fact!
Here are four reasons why you should be concerned about counterfeit currency today:
Plenty of Counterfeit Money Still Circulates in the US
In 2012 the Federal Reserve estimated that there was about $303 billion in counterfeit currency in circulation throughout the US. Though that might not seem like a huge number on the grand scale of things, those figures are only an estimate based on confirmed counterfeit bills seized by the Federal Reserve, and it only addresses the counterfeit problem within the US. Extrapolate that to the rest of the world’s currencies and the number becomes astronomical.
Technology Makes Counterfeiting Notes Easier
With great technological advances like ink jet printers and incredible editing software, counterfeiting money is getting easier every day. Although many more serious criminals head online to make money, small time criminals still make a lot of money from counterfeiting. You only need to be a victim of counterfeit fraud once to lose a considerable amount of money, and chances are you won’t realize you’ve been victimized until it’s too late.
Small Businesses Are a Major Target
Counterfeit criminals target small businesses and individuals simply because there is a much lower chance of getting caught. They often specifically target cashiers who are old and don’t see so well and teenagers who don’t appear to be paying much attention to the bills they are handed. You should also be aware of any transactions you do through Gumtree, Craigslist, flea markets, and estate sales, as these are also major targets for counterfeit crooks.
The Consequence of Accepting Counterfeit Notes
If you realize you or your business has accepted counterfeit notes, you will not be reimbursed and your options are very limited for catching the crooks who gave them to you. Many counterfeit criminals will focus on making larger purchases with their counterfeit notes in order to get rid of them and get as much value out of their scam as possible. This can cause major losses for small businesses since they have no way of getting their money back. And if you give the counterfeiter change in cash, you also lose that money in addition to the value of the goods or services. To save your business, it pays (literally) to be diligent in checking the money you receive as a small business owner and taking the time to carefully train every one of your staff.