Estimating the Worldwide Volume of Counterfeit U.S. Currency: Data and Extrapolation

38 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2003

See all articles by Ruth Judson

Ruth Judson

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve - Division of International Finance

Richard D. Porter

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Date Written: September 2003

Abstract

The incidence of currency counterfeiting and the possible total stock of counterfeits in circulation are popular topics of speculation and discussion in the press and are of substantial practical interest to the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Secret Service. This paper assembles data from Federal Reserve and U.S. Secret Service sources and presents a range of estimates for the number of counterfeits in circulation. In addition, the paper presents figures on counterfeit passing activity by denomination, location, and method of production. The paper has two main conclusions: first, the stock of counterfeits in the world as a whole is likely on the order of 1 or fewer per 10,000 in both piece and value terms; second, losses to the U.S. public from the most commonly used note, the $20, are relatively small, and are miniscule when only counterfeit notes of reasonable quality are considered.

Keywords: Counterfeit, currency

JEL Classification: E49, C10

Suggested Citation

Judson, Ruth A. and Porter, Richard D., Estimating the Worldwide Volume of Counterfeit U.S. Currency: Data and Extrapolation (September 2003). FEDs Working Paper No. 2003-52. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=478601 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.478601

Ruth A. Judson (Contact Author)

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve - Division of International Finance ( email )

20th and C Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Richard D. Porter

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago ( email )

230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

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