GAO: Counterfeit U.S. Currency Abroad

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on
counterfeiting of U.S. currency abroad and U.S. efforts to deter these

GAO found that: (1) counterfeit U.S. currency is used for economic gain
and illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, arms sales, and
terrorist activity; (2) there are several techniques used to counterfeit
U.S currency, including photocopying, the raised note technique,
computer assisted printing, bleaching and reprinting, and
photomechanics; (3) the offset printing method offers the highest
quality of counterfeit notes and can only be detected by experienced
bank tellers; (4) it is difficult to determine the extent of
counterfeiting abroad because of the lack of accurate counterfeit
detection data and foreign officials reluctance to view counterfeiting
as a serious problem; (5) of the $380 billion in U.S. currency
circulated in fiscal year 1994, $208.7 million was counterfeit, which
represented less than one one-thousandth of U.S. currency in circulation
at that time; and (6) the U.S. government is involved in various
counterfeit deterrence activities, including redesigning U.S. currency,
increasing the presence of the Secret Service and the exchange of
information abroad, and seizing the production and distribution
capabilities used in counterfeiting of U.S. currency.

GAO/GGD-96-11: Counterfeit U.S. Currency Abroad


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