It always seems that no matter what you do, there just simply isn’t enough money. Stories abound of the poor quality of counterfeit bills and one can’t help but wonder why, with the right paper and a quality photocopier, decent knockoffs can’t be made. Well, there’s a reason and it’s not just the watermarks.

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Of course it’s an uphill battle when trying to counterfeit currencies such as Australia’s, which are synthetic rather than paper, but even if you chose a paper denomination and actually closed the photocopier you will simply get an error message or a printout that is either black or incomplete.

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But how can a photocopier, or even Photoshop for that matter, tell that you are trying to copy or edit a banknote and give you an error message? Mainly due to an extremely sophisticated and highly secretive pattern that appears in most countries’ currencies called the EURion Constellation that alerts copiers and Photoshop to the fact that it is money that is being copied or altered.

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Not  a whole lot is known about the EURion Constellation except that it is a pattern of dots that was first found on the 10 euro note, now appears on every major currency and some copiers will just simply stop printing upon its recognition. Now copiers have moved onto an even more convoluted technology called the Counterfeit Detection System, or CDS, and even less is known about this form of protection  than the EURion Constellation.

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Although it is possible that the CDS may incorporate the EURion Constellation, it more than likely uses something a lot more sophisticated than an arrangement of dots, something that is going to be necessary as technology becomes more advanced and flaws are found with the current methods of protection.

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Not only is illegal to copy money, but in the US it is also against the law to deface currency or use the image of it in any form of advertising. Even for prop money, the bills need to be less than 75% or more than 150% of the real size and single-sided. Furthermore, they need to be destroyed immediately after use! Fake money is serious business and you can find out more here:

h/t Gizmodo