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This contest is fueled by the following news: Police in Japan are puzzled when it comes to the latest counterfeiting scheme in the country, fake bills that actually cost more to make than their actual face value. The fake notes are made by replacing the middle strip of genuine currency with a color photocopy, securing it all with tape. These bills easily can be seen as fakes - but they may back out older model vending machines.
Counterfeiting - fabrication or sale of counterfeit money or securities. Counterfeiter - person, engaged in fabrication of counterfeit coins & later on paper currency. In broad sense, liar, fraud, making a living out of forgery. State of governmental authorities, issuing uncovered money, are usually not included in this concept.
This "craft" is existing for a long time as the money itself. Initially, when money had real value, equal to weight of gold, silver, copper, contained in coins, main method was issue of counterfeit coins, made from cheaper alloys or of smaller size . Both of these methods were also employed by State, Duke, Lord, but in the latter case, it was never called issue of counterfeit coins because they were real, just with a lower value (see Inflation). Sometimes this led to riots.
Deliberate spoiling of precious metal coins to lessen them and thus, keeping the stolen metal to self, was sometimes categorized as counterfeiting. For example, in pre-Peter Russia, silver coin had irregular shape, somewhat close to oval (this was due to the adopted method of minting coins). Since the coin was of irregular shape, damage was not too noticeable and it was widespread practice to cut pieces of silver from the edges of coins.
In recent history, issue of counterfeit money was even done at state level to undermine the economy of enemy states. One of the first references - use of counterfeit money in 1812 war by Bonaparte.
Penalty for making counterfeit money was very strict practically always & everywhere. In the Middle Ages, counterfeiters made molten metal in boiling water or poured into molten metal (usually - lead, as mostly fake coins were made out of it) into throat.
Presently, counterfeit note is the most easy thing to encounter in places with great amount of commodity-money transactions, which are not equipped with checking devices, for example, in a cheap cafe, transport, market, beach, etc.