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Banks May Be Improperly Identifying Genuine U.S. Currency as Counterfeit

The appearance of high-quality counterfeit $100 bills in the region has been detected in Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Bolivia

Posted: April 20, 2005 (Updated: April 25, 2005)

In March of 2005, the United States Secret Service (USSS) learned that the Miami Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) had received a quantity of deceptive counterfeit $100 Federal Reserve Notes (FRN’s). These counterfeit $100 FRNs were reported to have originated as bank deposits from institutions in Peru. The notes in question bear a 2001 production date and a serial number that includes the sequence "CB-B2", however the USSS says that the majority of notes with those letters are valid currency, originating with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

There have been reports of similar notes surfacing in Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador. Todate, none of these new counterfeit notes have been confirmed as circulating in Uruguay. Some banks have been identifying notes as counterfeit simply by the same two letters before the serial number when in fact they may be genuine. The USSS warns that this is not an effective way to identify this particular counterfeit $100 FRN and in some cases, may be improperly identifying genuine currency as counterfeit.

It should be noted that this particular deceptive note has only been seen in the $100 denomination and in an extremely small percentage of genuine currency in circulation. Statistics continue to indicate that the amount of counterfeit U.S. Currency worldwide is less than one (1) percent of genuine U.S. Currency in circulation.

The Secret Service, through their Miami Field Office and U.S. Embassies in South and Central America, continue to assist law enforcement and banking institutions in counterfeit detection and deterrence.

For more information on detecting counterfeit U.S. currency, please visit the United States Secret Service website at: http://www.secretservice.gov/know_your_money.shtml


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