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Security Features Of U.S. Treasury Checks

Counterfeiting of U.S. obligations is not just limited to the Federal Reserve notes. It is also a common problem for checks issued by the Federal Government. In an effort to fight this type of criminal activity, several security features have been incorporated into U.S. Treasury checks. These features are easy to authenticate, difficult to reproduce on office machine copiers/printers and consistent on all Treasury checks that are issued.

The paper used for Treasury checks is chemically responsive to all solvents and ink removers, which make most alterations easy to notice. It also contains a continuous pattern watermark that says "U.S. Treasury." This security feature cannot be reproduced on an office machine copier.

The dry offset printing process is used to print Treasury checks. The inks are specially designed to react to leaching and bleaching so that they fade when rubbed with water and dissolve when exposed to alcohol or bleach, making most alterations noticeable.

Additional security features on Treasury checks are:
  • The colors of the inks are of a low density, which makes them difficult to reproduce on an office machine copier.
  • The signature line on the reverse side of the check is comprised of microprinted text that repeats the letters "USA."
  • The checks have a fluorescent image printed in the center that can be viewed under ultra-violet light but cannot be reproduced by an office copier.

U.S. Treasury Check

These new security features were added to the Treasury checks beginning in November 1997:
  • Bleeding ink in the Treasury Seal, which will smudge red when exposed to moisture.
  • The fluorescent image overprinted in the center has been enhanced to contain dual fluorescent wavelength bands.

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