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Making it Tough on Counterfeiters
Subject Money and Banking
Topic Money and the Financial System
Key Words Treasury Department, Counterfeiting, Medium of Exchange, Legal Tender
News Story

Treasury Departments Bureau of Engraving and Printing revealed a redesigned $20 bill on May 13th, 2003. The bills will not actually appear in circulation until later this year. The $20 bill was selected to be the first because it is the most counterfeited bill in the United States. Treasury Secretary John Snow described the purpose of the new bill as an effort to "… stay ahead of anyone who would compromise the security and integrity of the dollar through counterfeiting".

The portrait of the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson, will continue to grace the front of the bill. Both the front and the back will be shaded with a faint wash of green and peach tints, fading from right to left. The background on the old notes was neutral color. The new bill also features a faint blue image of an eagle the words "Twenty USA" also in blue, and the White House is the prominent feature on the back of the bill with tiny yellow number 20's floating in the background.

The most counterfeited bill outside the United States is the $100 bill. A new $100 bill is expected by 2005 and a new $50 is expected by 2004. Each of these bills will also include more color that should make them easily distinguishable. The advent of new technology such as increasingly sophisticated color copiers, and compute scanners have made counterfeit bills harder to detect. Nevertheless, due to the efforts of the Treasury Department, only one or two counterfeit bills exist for every 10,000 notes in circulation. According to Secret Service Director W. Ralph Basham, there is approximately $650 Billion in U.S. currency in circulation around the world.

(Updated June 2, 2003)

Questions
1.

Why is the government not changing the $1, $5, and $ 10 bills?

2. Why do foreign countries experience counterfeit American money?
Source Florida Today, "New Bills Harder to Counterfeit," Associated Press, May 14, 2003

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