crime

Japan’s vending machines no match for counterfeit coins

11 Comments
By Michelle Lynn Dinh

Counterfeit coins and bills are hard to make and with the advancement of technology, hard to pass for genuine money. Store clerks are armed with a variety of techniques, from special pens to knowledge of watermark placement, making it even more difficult for those looking for undeserved cash to score big.

However, with the proliferation of vending machines across Japan and the circulation of a high-value 500 yen coin, counterfeiters have a perfect mark for cashing in their fake coins, as a recent photo on Twitter confirms.

The photo that started it all was posted to Twitter by user toybox2002 (at left).

No, not an unbelievably valuable mint-made error coin, this intentionally-made disc is able to fool vending machines by possessing the same weight, shape, and outer design as a genuine 500 yen coin.

As high-tech as Japanese vending machines are, they don’t read the face of the coins like bill receptors do, making the machines a counterfeiter’s paradise.

A small sampling of counterfeit coins from Google search can be seen in the photo below.

The coins with small divots drilled into them are actually 500 won coins. They were used as counterfeit coins prior to August of 2000, when a new 500 yen coin was minted to combat the use of comparatively cheap 500 won coins.

Netizen reactions to the Twitter photo were split…and some were a little confused:

“This is actually really cool, isn’t it?”

“This is the first time I’ve hear of counterfeit coins.”

“I thought they took care of this problem back in 2000…”

“It’s really cool, but you’re out!”

“What should you do in this situation?! Call the police?”

So if you’re ever in Akihabara buying a drink from a vending machine, take a look at the change you receive. You might just get a very expensive souvenir.

Source: Byokan Sunday

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Why does the fifty yen coin have a hole? And other fun facts about Japanese coins -- Misprinted 1-yen coin sells for US$27,500 at auction -- Tokyo hamburger vending machine has a human touch

© RocketNEws24

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11 Comments
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So if you're ever in Akihabara buying a drink from a vending machine, take a look at the change you receive. You might just get a very expensive souvenir.

Nope, just put it back in and buy another drink... Nice tip here JT, now where is that old metal stamping press I had....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If I had a slug the size of a dime, I could park my car free all of the time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

GobshiteMar. 24, 2014 - 07:52AM JST

The penalty for using forged coins may be a lot heavier than you may imagine.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One problem that most people are overseeing is.... how much it will cost you to counter fit a coin? You know, the metal, the cutting (and the machine to cut), the shaping....

You have to have access to those equipment and material, that means that you have to had enough money to buy them which means you must be part of a organization with the resources....

I think this the counter fitting coins is not a one-man operation

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Coins of 500KRW to be used in counterferfeiting was created after the old 500JPY coins made in Japan. And made 500KRW coin is the same size and like material as the 500JPY coins in Japan as it happens.

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Daniel NeagariMar. 24, 2014 - 11:36AM JST One problem that most people are overseeing is.... how much it will cost you to counter fit a coin? You know, the metal, the cutting (and the machine to cut), the shaping....

I agree it sounds a bit far fetched that someone would invest in machining tools to swindle coins from soda machines even if you could probably make quite a bit with some diligent work. Fact is the coin remains inside the machine though limiting the payback for each one to I suppose around 400 yen at best, minus the time spent machining. Not to mention you'd be recorded by up to several surveillance cameras, tooling marks could likely be found on the coins and matched to used hardware. I'd say the risk of getting caught is quite high.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I agree it sounds a bit far fetched that someone would invest in machining tools to swindle coins from soda machines even if you could probably make quite a bit with some diligent work.

I guess you are not from an engineering background. Stamping presses are in workshops all over Japan (and cough cough, China) and a dedicated punch and die would not be difficult to manufacture in most toolmaking shops.

Fact is the coin remains inside the machine though limiting the payback for each one to I suppose around 400 yen at best, minus the time spent machining.

Stamping metal discs, which is what a coin basically is, can be done at a rate of hundreds, maybe thousands an hour. The difficulty would be selecting material to match the weight. At around $5 a pop.......

Not to mention you'd be recorded by up to several surveillance cameras, tooling marks could likely be found on the coins and matched to used hardware. I'd say the risk of getting caught is quite high.

In the middle of Tokyo maybe, do you know how many vending machines are in Japan? Far more than cctv cameras I suspect. Definitely no cameras in the inaka where I live.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Last week it emerged that a large percentage of the £1 coins in circulation in the UK are fake. They are only worth JPY 160 and are just as heavy as 500, probably more. Producing a 500 yen coin must be fairly cheap.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just lovely. Now vending machines will be taken down until this is fixed. Way to ruin it for us all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

GobshiteMar. 24, 2014 - 05:02PM JST

This article was about Korean coins machined to be accepted as Japanese 500yen coins. You can stamp out as many metal discs as you like, they won't work unless they're at the very least of the correct weight and have the reeded edge. Additionally there's electric conductivity, magnetic signature and surface pattern recognition that many machines check for.

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@Magnus

This article was about Korean coins machined to be accepted as Japanese 500yen coins.

No it is not, read it again

The coins with small divots drilled into them are actually 500 won coins. They were used as counterfeit coins prior to August of 2000, when a new 500 yen coin was minted

That's old news

The photo that started it all was posted to Twitter by user toybox2002 (at left).

No, not an unbelievably valuable mint-made error coin, this intentionally-made disc is able to fool vending machines by possessing the same weight, shape, and outer design

There ya go Sherlock, a disc, replicating physical features of a coin

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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