Do you know why the US Secret Service was formed in 1865? Nope, not presidential protection.
The answer: To combat counterfeiting. During America’s Civil War, burgeoning production of fraudulent copies of the national currency posed a threat to the economy. In response, Congress created the Secret Service to enforce anti-counterfeiting laws. Even today, in conjunction with local, state and foreign law enforcement agencies, the Service investigates every case of counterfeiting.
Unfortunately, there’s still plenty to investigate. Modern technology has provided counterfeiters with new and improved ways to print phony bills, and counterfeiting is on the rise. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, counterfeit currency made up about .01 percent of all US currency in circulation in 2001. That may sound insignificant—until you consider the amount of currency in circulation then was approximately $600 billion.
Although the Secret Service is still on the job, prevention also has an important role to play in preventing counterfeiting. That’s why the Department of the US Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing redesigns currency, such as the recently released $10 bill, every 7-10 years.
Do you want to assist Uncle Sam? Educational brochures, posters and Internet downloads are available to help you become more familiar with what your money should look like. Take the time to educate yourself. The dollars you save could be your own—and joining the Secret Service is not required.