I.D.Techknows how important it is to protect your business and provides its customers with solid tools for continuously improving the security of takings.
There are millions of counterfeit banknotes in circulation and the worldwide trend is quite alarming.

Since 2002, when the Euro was introduced, more than 7 and a half million banknotes recog-nized as being counterfeit have been recalled. It may seem like a residual amount, if compared to the 14 million authentic bills that are currently in cir-culation. ‘However, the seized amount is but the tip of the iceberg — says a qualified source from Europol in The Hague — What escapes control is much more.’ At least 3 or 4 times more, accord-ing to some estimates. The €20 and €50 continue to be the most counterfeited banknotes; most of the counterfeits were found in euro area countries.

In Europe

During the course of 2011, the U.S. Secret Service made 3,028 counterfeinting arrests nationwide and helped to remove more then $261 million in fake money from circulation.“Counterfeiting of the currency of the United States is widely attempted. According to the United States Department of Treasury, an estimated $70 million in counterfeit bills are in circulation, or approximately 1 note in counterfeits for every 10,000 in genuine currency, with an upper bound of $200 million counterfeit, or 1 counterfeit per 4,000 genuine notes.
However, these numbers are based on annual seizure rates on counterfeiting, and the actual stock of counterfeit money is uncertain because some counterfeit notes successfully circulate for a few transactions.”

In the United States

Even in the rest of the world, in proportion to the importance of local currency, the situation is basically the same.
The quality of counterfeit banknotes has increased tremendously thanks to the use of new digital technologies by counterfeiters. One would be inclined to think, in fact, that counterfeit banknotes are low quality, printed on ordinary paper and that in this way they can be easily identified by the common detection systems currently on the market. This IS NO LONGER TRUE!

  • Watermark. Mints print banknotes on lusterless watermarked paper that emits a particular fluores-cence when exposed to UV light. This does not occur if UV rays are used with normal printing paper. This technology, introduced at the beginning of the 1970s, is now considered partially obsolete be-cause watermarked paper (also used to print letterhead stationery) is easily found on sale and reacts the same way banknote watermarks do when exposed to UV light. Also, some types of paper used by counterfeiters even have the same paper density as the watermark used in bills.
  • Copper-plate printing and holograms. When looking at current counterfeit banknotes against the light, you can see that, in most cases, in addition to the watermark designs, the copper-plate printing relief effect and even the holographic band have been imitated.
  • Magnetized inks and security threads (metal foil). Mints usually use magnetic inks for printing banknotes. The magnetic mark can be detected by electronic scanners, as well as security threads. Today, to sidestep this test, counterfeiters are able to obtain magnetic ink simply by adding micronized magnetite to the printing ink or place a metal security thread, which can deceive electronic scanners.


Therefore, it is clear that what threatens takings the most is the quality achieved by counterfeiters, as they can perfectly imitate the security elements of money. In fact, false banknotes are so well reproduced that, by now, it has become impossible to identify them without the help of a technology designed especially for this purpose.



(European Central Bank) - Biannual information on euro banknote counterfeiting

Counterfeit United States currency


"FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF SAN FRANCISCO: How much money in circulation is counterfeit?". October 13, 2013



Casey Toner, “Counterfeit money easier than ever to make,” Beacon News, January 13, 2012

Press Release on Joint Report on Use and Counterfeiting of U.S. Currency Abroad (2006-10-25)


"7. Estimates of Counterfeiting", The Use and Counterfeiting of United States Currency Abroad, Part 3 (PDF), US Department of Treasury, Sep 2006, p. 70




Repubblica: Filigrana, calcografia e ologrammi - Ecco i 'cattivi' maestri delle arti grafiche

Repubblica: La città dei falsari

The New York Times : In Southern Italy, Fake Euros That Even the Police Admire

Elena Quercioli and Lones Smith, Econometrica, May 2015, “The Economics of Counterfeiting”.

Elena Quercioli and Lones Smith, Encyclopedia of Law and Economics, Edited by Juergen Backaus, Springer New York, 2014, “Counterfeit Money”.





The above statement means that the related product has positively passed the official standard tests set by the ECB for the detection of counterfeit €uro bills; therefore, the equipment at stake has an high level of reliability. The tests results are published on ECB’s websites.

These tests –to be periodically repeated- are offered only for auto-detection devices. Auto-detection devices are those that indicate, by means of a visible or audible signal or a text-based display, whether the checked banknote is found to be genuine or not; generally speaking, most of the times these devices correspond to some large cash handling machines with some embedded authentication device.

However, the said statement does not mean that the counterfeit detection equipment be able to detect any and all counterfeit banknotes; in addition, it does not mean that this electronic device be able to test banknotes other than the €uro currency because that certification and tests are available only for €uro bills.

As a matter of fact, on the EBC websites clarifies under the “List of tested banknote authentication devices”, “Disclaimer” n. 4. As follows: “This statement does not imply any warranty by the ECB or the NCBs [i.e. National Central Banks], whether express or implied, to the effect that the types of device tested can detect counterfeit euro banknotes continuously and without error, or concerning their fitness for use, or their purpose, irrespective of whether the users of the devices comply with the user requirements”; and under 3. clarifies that “The published test results neither contain nor imply any recommendation by the ECB or the NCBs to the effect that third parties should or should not use the type of device tested.”

In light of the above, since our €UROTESTERPEN® works through human eyes’ verification of the chemical solution reaction on the paper banknote it does not fall within the scope of the devices which can be tested by ECB. In any case, we are not aware of any scanner/electronic device on the market –even “EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK 100% TESTED”- able to effect chemical tests on paper currencies; therefore, our scientific instrument is certainly useful and complementary to the said typology of devices.


For more informations:

European Central Bank : Banknote authentication devices tested

European Central Bank : Testing of banknote authentication devices



IdTech anti-counterfeit division

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FAX: +39.051.490640

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