The Associated Press inadvertently gives you all the information you need in order to make phony money:
First, design: Software such as Corel Draw or Microsoft Office is used. Then comes photolithography, the etching of metal plates, offset printing and finishing.
Finishing is next: A sheet of bills is lightly coated with varnish. Individual bills, typically 12, are then cut from the sheet.
Security strips are inserted with needles and affixed with glue applied with medical syringes. (Hold a $20 bill up to the light and you can see a strip with "USA TWENTY" printed repeatedly across it).
The bills now pass through what counterfeiters call an "enmalladora," or netting machine: Two rollers covered with coarse fabric to give them a rough texture.
The last step: Sand down the bills with fine sandpaper.
"It takes four or five days to make $300,000" in counterfeit notes, the investigator said.Clearly, this is more than just doodling on heavy paper or trimming off the corners of a bill and tricking a slackjawed retail clerk into taking a folded over note. It's good to see that all of the effort that has gone into preventing this from happening is working. My understanding was that the new designs currently in circulation were extremely hard to counterfeit. And yet, there are 13 year-olds who have mastered the art of making fake money.
At some point, money will have to go away and we'll all live with virtual money programmed onto plastic cards that are, of course, the easiest thing in the world to use to steal things. We spend money to create money that is worthless when it is this easy to copy.