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For the love of cold hard cash…

By Tara Yilmaz

A biblical proverb says that money is the root of all evil… but it sure feels good when you have money. Another proverb says money doesn’t buy happiness… yes it does, says a bankrupt person.


Long gone are the days of the barter system when a gentlemen’s agreement and a handshake was king. Now welcome the new era of a cashless society and where digital money is here to stay. No matter if it’s paper money or digital, cash rules everything around us. So, spend it all, because you can’t take it with you.


→ Did you know paper money is not paper? According to The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (bep.gov), the official definition for US currency paper is called substrate. It’s composed of 25% linen and 75% cotton, with red and blue fibers distributed randomly throughout to make imitation more difficult. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing contracts Crane Currency headquartered in Dalton, Massachusetts to supply central banks with design and banknote printing services. But before taking that long drive up north to attempt to secure scraps of fabric fortune, know these two things before you carry out your fantasies about counterfeiting. First, it’s illegal for anyone other than BEP to possess that particular paper. Second, bills $5 and above are made with specific watermarks and security threads. So, best of luck!


→ Did you know the United States Secret Service was created to combat the counterfeiting of money? The USSS is the nation’s oldest federal investigation law enforcement agency. It was founded in 1865 as a branch of the Treasury Department. During the Reconstruction Era after the Civil War, counterfeiting was a major problem. Secretservice.gov estimates that one-third to one-half of the currency in circulation during those years was counterfeit.

Before researching this subject, I, like many other Americans, thought that the Secret Service’s only job was to protect presidents, congress members, presidential candidates, and immediate family members. Just like my prediction of the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, I was wrong. The Secret Service’s primary jurisdiction is financial crimes. This includes the counterfeiting of currency or other government obligations; forgery or theft of Treasury checks, bonds or other securities; credit card fraud; telecommunications fraud; computer fraud, identify fraud and certain other crimes affecting federally-insured financial institutions.


→ Did you know in 2017 TSA collected more than $869,000 that was left by passengers at checkpoints? TSA.gov says the TSA makes every effort to reunite passengers with money that is left behind at checkpoints. Maybe all that loose change is used to fund the employee holiday pizza party. Who knows? However, according to TSA.gov, there is a process to recycle lost funds before it is initially spent. Unclaimed money is deposited into a special account to be tracked and subsequently disbursed. Ultimately, TSA uses the money to maintain and improve security operations. Which means, no pizza party for the employees. More metal detectors or hopefully more ice-cold benches for passengers to sit on while they take their cold feet and put them back in their shoes.


→ Did you know one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property waiting to be reconnected? On patreasury.gov, Stacy Garrity, state treasurer for Pennsylvania writes, “Treasury receives hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed property every year, often because of something as simple as a misspelled name or an out-of-date address. But let’s be clear: this is YOUR money we’re talking about, and I want to return it to you.” If you have a hunch or if you feel this is more logical than playing the PA Lottery, go online to patreasury.gov/unclaimed-property and search to see if you have unclaimed money.


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