I'm translating a text, and came across the following definition:

security printer: producer of printed documents or products of value or entitlement, ID documents or security foils (3.25) which are physically protected against forgery, counterfeit and alteration by security features (3.26).

What is the difference between forgery and counterfeit in the context of security printing?

I googled for definitions but found no difference, they seem to be synonymous. In Russian, there is only one word, подделка (poddelka) for both these senses, and I'm at a loss on how to translate this.

  • 1
    The words forgery and counterfeit go with different items. A criminal will forge painting, checks, and signatures. A criminal will counterfeit bills. Check printers have an anti-forgery feature, placing tiny printing on the signature line (try viewing it with a magnifying glass) and the security printers will not reproduce it. The back of the check says "security document" to prevent forgery. Many governments have placed anti-counterfeit features in their bills by adding a watermark. Copiers work by shining light on one side of the bill, so the watermark does not get reproduced. – rajah9 Nov 15 '20 at 11:50
  • They're pretty synonymous, and the definition seems to be an attempt not to leave anything out. If подделка covers both senses, no need to duplicate. I would say it means a printer with security features (probably software) to secure input, as well as security features (probably hardware) to secure output. But I don't really know, not being an engineer. – John Lawler Nov 16 '20 at 17:05

Forgery is a crime. It is the process of making, drawing, or altering a document with the intent to defraud. A person is guilty of forgery if s/he alters any writing or makes any writing of another person and proclaims it to be the act of the other person who did not actually authorize the act.

Counterfeiting is criminal imitation. It is done with the intent of fraudulently passing off the counterfeited product as genuine ...


Acording to the above, one difference is that forgery can involve altering something that already exists whereas counterfeiting refers to making something from scratch. I am not a legal expert so please read the paragraphs yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Note: The search-term I used is counterfeit vs forgery

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