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Top 10 Historical Counterfeiters & Why You Should Know About Them

Top 10 Historical Counterfeiters & Why You Should Know About Them

The U.S. Secret Service is charged with finding people who make fake money and try to pass it as real. Although most people believe the Secret Service were always the agency who protected the president, that isn’t the case. President Lincoln signed the document creating the Secret Service to arrest counterfeiters as well. Today, that remains the agency’s main purpose, but the duties have expanded to include protecting the president, dignitaries and heads of state from other countries, credit card fraud, financial fraud and schemes, and more. The need to fight the counterfeiters continues as strong as it was in Lincoln’s day. In fact, the number of counterfeiters are rising.

Two Factors Lending to Rise in Counterfeiting

Holiday shopping and sales associate fatigue both contribute to the rise in counterfeiting. During the Christmas shopping season, so many people are in the stores that counterfeiters can take advantage. Sales clerks want to get people through the line as quickly as possible, so they don’t pay attention to the money they are handling. They are used to seeing people carrying $20 bills, so they think nothing of it when someone hands them a twenty. In addition, store managers have too few staff and too many hours to work. It is not uncommon for sales associates to work 12 hours or more during Christmas. This means they are tired and stretched to the limit. Coupled with the sheer numbers standing line, it’s no wonder that checking for counterfeit bills is a low priority.

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In addition, people making fake money are using more advanced technology. As technology advances, the quality of the counterfeit is harder to discern. In some cases, it virtually not detectable unless you are a trained agent. As the world becomes a marketplace through the Internet, you can purchase the ingredients needed to make fake American dollars. For example, a man recently caught in Canada ordered the special paper that U.S. Mint uses from a supplier in Germany and the special ink from a supplier in China. He also found through the Internet the right type of offset printer to make the bills run in sequential serial numbers, which is one of the determining factors that money is fake.

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Who Are the Top Counterfeiters?

  1. Alvos dos Reis — forged contracts with the Banco de Portugal. He received banknotes from official printers. Therefore, his money was real. In 1925, he had pumped $1.7 million into the Portugal economy. When the scam was revealed, Portugal faced financial crisis that led to a dictatorship taking over the country.
  2. Edward Mueller — did such a great job on his counterfeiting that he remained uncaught for a long time. He holds the record for the longest to go without getting caught. His genius was in going small. He opted to counterfeit $1 instead of $100 in New York. He was eventually caught after more than 10 years of getting away with it.
  3. Bernhard Kruger — was part of the Nazi currency counterfeiting operation. The goal of the counterfeiting was to destabilize Allied goverments’ economies. The counterfeiting also was meant to bring in cash for the war. In the concentration camps, the Nazi counterfeiter funneled $6 billion worth of British pounds into the economy.
  4. Mike DeBardeleben — shopped in the malls in 1980s with his fake $20 bills. In the exchange, he would get real currency back. When he was identified, the country set a search upon him. He was caught and sex crimes were also closed when evidence against him was found.
  5. Stephen Jory — is known as Great Britain’s most infamous counterfeiter. He began his career by swapping cheap perfume with expensive pieces wdesigner labels. Although he admitted to counterfeiting $82 million worth of bills, the British government believes the number is higher. His counterfeits made up two-thirds of the number of fake bills in circulation between 1993 and 1998.
  6. Arthur Williams — started counterfeiting at age 16 in Chicago. His mother’s boyfriend mentored him in the trade. For more than 10 years, he printed $10 million. He paid attention to the changes in the security features and adapted his system to include them. He employed automotive paint to create color-changing ink, favored newsprint paper for the U.S. Mint’s special paper blend and drew watermarks. The government caught him in 2002 and gave him three years prison time.
  7. Wesley Weber — created Canadian hundreds that were so close to the real thing, retailers refused to accept any Canadian hundreds. Because of his success, the Canadian government decided to change the look completely.
  8. Anastasios Arnaouti — could have brought down two economies. The British counterfeiter had $4.1 million in 10-pound notes and $3.5 million in American hundreds when he was caught. He had dumped much more into circulation.
  9. Albert Talton — decided to go simple and succeed. He counterfeited $7 million using an inkjet printer.
  10. Pakistani Government — Pakistan creates fake Indian money and smuggles it across the border. This counterfeiting is related to terrorism and grudges against India.

To learn how to tell if American money is real, visit secretservice.gov. If you need to transfer money, you can be confident that you are transferring real currency.

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Featured photo credit: How can You Tell if Money is Counterfeit? via wisegeek.org

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Last Updated on April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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