My career as a counterfeiter

My dazzling career as a professional counterfeiter started one Friday when I used a tiny image of a banknote to complete a piece of advertising artwork for a friend.

A couple of weeks later, the lawyers from HSBC complained that I had illegally duplicated their currency — even though the mud on the bottom of my shoe would have been smart enough to realize it wasn't a real banknote.

A couple of months after that, I wrote a newspaper report about new banknote designs. HSBC complained again, even though I was printing a press release from HSBC about HSBC banknotes!

That was when I realized bank staff were clearly sniffing too many chemicals wafting up from the printing department.

I used advanced spiritual techniques (“kicking furniture”) to defray my aggrieved feelings, but since then I have always felt an affinity with counterfeiters, particularly those from Vietnam, as they do no harm since their currency isn't actually worth anything.


The other day, I came across a two-dong note from my first visit to that country in the 1980s. Since it takes 200 dong to make one US cent, I just need to find another 99 two-dong notes and then I can go out and buy something, a molecule perhaps.

How much is a molecule these days? Probably more than one US cent, thanks to the scourge of inflation!


On that first visit to Vietnam, I remember wondering how people bought homes in Vietnam. The price of a house would surely be a pile of dong considerably bigger than most homes.

Why not skip the purchase entirely, and just live in a structure made of "bricks" of banknotes?

It would be cheaper, more distinctive, and you could avoid dealing with smarmy realtors.


A friend who knows my dark past as a counterfeiter sent me a recent report from the Darlington and Stockton Times, a British newspaper.

A counterfeiter walked into a shop and asked staff to change a large denomination banknote.

"It's not fake!" he announced, merrily.

Staff immediately realized that it was fake and called police.

This is Mr Jam’s Law of Irony: Things you have to tell people are true aren't.

That guy should have heeded that classic line from the Bible: "The wise man knoweth when to speak and when to shutteth up.”


Perhaps the most ironic tale from my counterfeiting files is another true story from Vietnam, but from the 1990s.

A forger from Ho Chi Minh City used a piece of cheap iron to make a counterfeit piece of "precious metal" and sold it to a group of investors for a large bundle of cash.

But when he got back home, he found they paid him with counterfeit money.

I know it's mean to laugh at people, but I couldn't stop myself. He was hopping mad, no doubt telling his family members: "You can't trust anybody these days.”

Having finished this post, I shall now reward myself with a visit to the coffee shop, stopping at an ATM on the way.

Or maybe the photocopier.