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Peru is the biggest producer of counterfeit U.S. money, turning out thousands of fake dollars in 2013 alone. Secret Service offices are working to reduce the amount of money being lost to Peru through forgery.
The country's number of skillful criminals, lower level of law enforcement, and the task's cheap labor keep it on top, according to the Associated Press.
Peru surpassed previously-reigning Columbia in the counterfeiting business. While Columbia focuses on cocaine trafficking, Peru's forgery is getting better. "It's much more profitable than cocaine," a top investigator reported.
The Secret Service set up an office in Lima, Peru to help Peruvian police – they have already caught over 50 people making counterfeit money this year. Based on past cases, it is estimated that Peruvians have forged over $103 million in the last 10 years.
A counterfeiter can earn up to $20,000 in actual money for every $100,000 in fake dollars they make, even after expenses are accounted for.
"It's a very good note," a Secret Service member stated while examining a counterfeit hundred dollar bill. "They use offset, huge machines that are used for regular printing of newspapers, or flyers … What’s more, once a note is printed they will throw five people [into its production] and do little things, little touches that add to the quality.”
According to BBC News, those with low incomes are most affected by the counterfeits. Bank official Juan Antonio Ramirez explained, "For them, accepting a forged note can mean losing a lot of money. That's why we tell the public to be careful and know very well what security features to look for in banknotes.”
As more technology is made available, and their skills in forgery are further developed, Peru's counterfeits become scarily realistic. Chief of the Peruvian police's fraud division said, "The day they get it and perfect the finish a bit more, [their bills] will go undetected."
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons