Spectacular mismatched serial numbers note too good to be true

‘Error’ notes appear to be counterfeits from Peruvian counterfeiting operation
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 06/19/17
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Apparently there is no longer enough profit in counterfeiting regular $100 bills. After all why settle for passing a fake at only face value, when if it is an error note you can get substantially more? 

That seems to be the latest news from Peru, where Lima is such a hotbed of fraudulent activity that the U.S. Secret Service has an office there. Now, criminals are also deliberately counterfeiting errors.

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U.S. dealers have been offered Series 2009A $100 Federal Reserve notes out of Lima with mismatched serial numbers; if genuine, they would be the most spectacular mismatches in history. Most genuine errors of the type usually have one or two mismatched digits and occur either when a numbering machine sticks or when the operator makes a mistake during setup. What sets these apart is a degree of brazenness that error export Fred Bart, author of United States Paper Money Errors, says “results in errors that are virtually impossible.”

The notes being peddled as authentic errors were said to be confirmed as authentic by a local Peruvian bank, and all seven or eight digits and the suffix letters are mismatched. But it doesn’t stop there. The Federal Reserve districts also do not match. One such note has a serial number for Chicago at the top left and New York at the bottom right. Another has Atlanta and New York in those positions. What also makes the notes suspect, Bart says, is that the plate position numbers on all the notes are different when you would expect them to be the same.


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The six serial numbers on the three notes reported to Coin World are inconsistent with Bureau of Engraving and Printing reports. On the first note mentioned above, the Chicago serial number dates to December 2011 and the New York one to January 2013. On the second, the Atlanta number is from February 2014 and New York’s from April 2015. A third example had both numbers from the Atlanta district, but one was from August 2013 with an F suffix and the other from December 2013 with a H at the end of the number.

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