IDENTIFICATION OF PRINTERS USED FOR COUNTERFEITING BANKNOTES AND DOCUMENTS
PURPOSE: To develop a software program capable of establishing illegal printing, tracing a connection between fake documents and identifying a printing device.
Background and Objectives
2008 and 2009 were the peak years in Russia for the detection of counterfeit banknotes: 132,941 and 155,222 pcs. respectively. Of all the banknotes issued by the Bank of Russia, the banknote of 1,000 rubles turned out to be the most often forged. When examining fakes, one common feature was revealed — unique ‘traces’ in the form of yellow dots left on paper by laser printers. Using color laser printers is a prevailing form of counterfeiting nowadays.
- To automate the detection of yellow tracking dots (printers’ traces) on images of forged documents
- To implement manual and automatic image input modes
- To collect a database of printers’ traces identified when investigating cases of illegal printing
In 2010, our company developed and patented PAPILLON BLIP, an automated system for examining counterfeit banknotes and documents. The BLIP method is based on unique traces that color laser printers leave.
Images of forged banknotes and documents can be acquired with scanners, cameras, from graphics files, including those stored in PAPILLON RASTR database. All incoming images are automatically processed. The expert has only to check the result and encode the found tracking dots. Then the program initiates an automatic database search and comparative analysis.
The search involves images of seized banknotes and documents, as well as images of test-printed samples obtained with various models of laser printers (including confiscated). If necessary, the system independently transmits images with detected tracking dots to the PAPILLON RASTR system for thorough examination.
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Results and Effect
In 2011, PAPILLON BLIP was tested in several regional Forensic Science Centers. The software was most actively used by investigators in the Ivanovo region.
Unfortunately, due to the limitations in the Russian legislation, the story has not been continued. The same cannot be said about the experience of our western colleagues. Thus, Interpol, faced with massive counterfeiting of banknotes, was able to launch a legislative initiative. The top manufacturers, including HP and Samsung, were obliged to embed special microchips in their devices. Subsequently, with their help, law enforcement agencies could identify fraudsters and administer justice.
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