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Funny money

 

Written by Spc. Michael Vanpool
101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs

101st Sustainment Brigade - LifelinersFort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division

Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan – Service members deployed to Afghanistan have several ways to pay for necessities. While some soldiers go for the plastic approach, like Eagle Cash, credit cards or debit cards, some stick with the classic paper bills.

With paper currency comes the possibility of fake money, but finance soldiers here are prepared to separate the genuine from the frauds.

Soldiers of the 101st Finance Management Company, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade learned the basics of identifying counterfeit currency during a training opportunity. The class, taught by U.S. Secret Service special agents, showed the soldiers how genuine American dollars are made during the training.

Soldiers with the 101st Finance Management Company, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, use magnifying glasses and ultraviolet lights to identify fake money during a counterfeit currency training. (Photo by Spc. Michael Vanpool)

Soldiers with the 101st Finance Management Company, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, use magnifying glasses and ultraviolet lights to identify fake money during a counterfeit currency training. (Photo by Spc. Michael Vanpool)

Aside from protecting national leaders, the U.S. Secret Service “safeguards the nation’s financial infrastructure and payment systems to preserve the integrity of the economy,” according to the Secret Service web site.

By learning how currency is produced, the soldiers could identify the fake money that might circulate through their cashier cages and vaults.

“We’ve already dealt with hundred dollar bills that were counterfeit, now we know what to look for,” said Spc. Grace Marquez, disbursing for the 217th Finance Detachment, 101st Finance Management Company.

Cashiers, bank tellers and other money handlers can easily spot fake currency since they deal with high volumes of cash, the special agents said.

The 101st FM Company distributes all the American currency for Regional Commands North, East and Capitol. Due to this, they have more face time with the bills circulating the theater than the typical service member.

Rather than learn about the several different counterfeit bills that might end up in their tills and vaults, the finance soldiers learned the basics of how real money is printed. From the banknote series to the art of engraving to the unique paper, this knowledge will help the cashiers and other soldiers identify when something isn’t in line.

The special agents said that by knowing how currency is printed, the paper used for printing and the fibers in the paper, they could identify most funny money.

While using advanced screening can help identify counterfeit dollars, the most important tool is the most simple.

“The things you can see with your eyes can help us make sure these bills aren’t going back out to soldiers,” Marquez said.

Magnifying glasses and ultraviolet lights make the security features of real money stand out to the naked eye and can keep the finance soldiers from sending out the fake bills. The finance soldiers used these tools to look at some of the fake currency that has circulated through Afghanistan and other countries during the hands-on part of the training.

The tools and knowledge that the finance soldiers gained from the Secret Service – led training will trickle down to the other soldiers of the 101st FM Company, and future finance detachments and companies deploying to theater.

Aside from learning how to recognize funny money, the soldiers were given the steps on how to deal with potential counterfeits that could reach their hands.

“It helps to know how to handle it,” Marquez said.

If you have received suspected counterfeit money, take it to your nearest finance office for further identification.


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