CONTROLTEK’s Tom Meehan to Speak about Dark Web Investigations at SLPA Training Day 2019

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (Sept. 26, 2019)CONTROLTEK’s Tom Meehan, CFI, a nationally recognized expert on cybersecurity and shrink reduction, will be speaking about dark web investigations, organized retail crime (ORC) and cybercrime at SLPA Training Day, hosted by the Security and Loss Prevention Association of Western Massachusetts, on Sept. 26 in Springfield, Mass.

“Tom is an expert in all things tech and retail asset protection,” said Rod Diplock, chief executive officer of CONTROLTEK. “He has combined this expertise with his years of experience in conducting investigations to teach loss prevention professionals how to use today’s technology to fight against the classic problem of retail shrinkage.”

The meeting will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT at the Big Y Corporate Office.


Since 1976 CONTROLTEK has been a global leader in tamper-evident security packaging, helping banks, armored couriers and retailers transport cash safely and securely. The company’s expanding line of inventory protection and visibility solutions also helps retailers protect their merchandise better and run their operations more efficiently. As a second-generation family owned business, with a history of stable growth and a reputation for strong customer focus, CONTROLTEK continues to deliver on its mission every single day: to provide solutions that protect and to always deliver on our promises.

Media Contact
Nathalie Schrans
Content and Social Media Manager
(908) 603-2704

CONTROLTEK at LPRC IMPACT: Releasing New EAS Tag for Boxed Merchandise

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (Sept. 26, 2019)CONTROLTEK will be attending LPRC IMPACT from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla. LPRC IMPACT is a two-day event designed to help participants better understand how they can use research approaches to help reduce crime and loss and increase sales. CONTROLTEK will also be demonstrating their newest tag designed to protect boxed merchandise, the SurfaceTag, at their conference booth.

“We are looking forward to connecting with retailers, researchers and solution providers at IMPACT,” said Tom Meehan, CFI, chief strategy officer at CONTROLTEK. “The LPRC’s evidence-based research approach to loss prevention provides invaluable resources for industry professionals to learn how to better fight theft, fraud and violence.”

“The SurfaceTag is our latest solution for retailers to protect boxed merchandise while eliminating product lockdown,” said Stefanie Hoover, CFI, strategic account executive at CONTROLTEK. “The benefit of the SurfaceTag is its multiple ways of attaching to any box’s surface, which means the tag does not interfere with the customer experience or take up too much shelf space.”

CONTROLTEK will be attending LPRC IMPACT as a Research Supporter sponsor. More information about the SurfaceTag can be obtained from CONTROLTEK’s website.


Since 1976 CONTROLTEK has been a global leader in tamper-evident security packaging, helping banks, armored couriers and retailers transport cash safely and securely. The company’s expanding line of inventory protection and visibility solutions also helps retailers protect their merchandise better and run their operations more efficiently. As a second-generation family owned business, with a history of stable growth and a reputation for strong customer focus, CONTROLTEK continues to deliver on its mission every single day: to provide solutions that protect and to always deliver on our promises.

Media Contact
Nathalie Schrans
Content and Social Media Manager
(908) 603-2704

How Counterfeit Money Pens Work

Though real money comes with various security features to prove its authenticity, one of the most reliable methods to tell if a bill is real or fake is with counterfeit detection tools. Counterfeit money pens are an affordable and simple way to check if a banknote is authentic, and since it is small and easy to store, employees who work front of house, like cashiers, can use them without slowing down business.

The science behind a counterfeit money pen is simple. Authentic bills are made of fiber-based paper. Because today’s counterfeiters are just trying to create passable copies of money, they usually use normal paper, which is made of wood. A counterfeit money pen contains an iodine solution that reacts with the starch in wood-based paper to create a black stain. When applied to authentic bills, the solution does not discolor the note.

What is Cryptocurrency and How Does It Work?

Since the Bitcoin boom of 2017, more people than ever have become interested in cryptocurrency, going so far as to buy it as a form of investment. But cryptocurrency was not designed to be bought and sold to make profit. So, what exactly is it and how does it work?

What is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency, where transactions are recording on a public ledger, usually a blockchain, and every process is protected by cryptography, which is simply the practice of secure communication. Cryptography is what makes cryptocurrency different from more common forms of electronic payment, such as credit cards or PayPal. Cryptocurrency is anonymous and cannot be traced back to its sender or recipient, which makes it popular among people who want to conceal their financial activity.

Cryptocurrency is distinguished from fiat, or traditional, money in that it is decentralized and digital. Cryptocurrency is decentralized by design, so there is no intermediary like a bank to transfer cryptocurrency between people. Instead, cryptocurrency is controlled by its users and computer algorithms like a blockchain to maintain its integrity. Cryptocurrency is also completely digital, so no physical representation of its value, such as paper money, is needed.

Without a regulatory body, there is no oversight for this digital currency, which is why a blockchain is essential. A blockchain is a large set of data that represents every transaction ever made. Blockchain technology cannot be altered retroactively without disrupting all the other records, and it prevents users from duplicating cryptocurrency as a form of fraud.

The History of Cryptocurrency

Though cryptocurrency did not take off until the late 2000s, it was first invented in 1983 by an American cryptographer, David Chaum, as an electronic currency called “ecash.” However, ecash still required that users withdraw money from traditional banks, so it was not like the cryptocurrency we know today.

It was not until 2008, when a still-anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto authored a paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” that the first decentralized cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was created. Bitcoin slowly grew in value until it skyrocketed toward the end of 2017, with one bitcoin (1 BTC) reaching an all-time high of $19,783.06.

As of 2019, the total dollar-denominated value of bitcoin in circulation is $64.3 billion out of a total cryptocurrency market value of almost $134 billion. Since the release of Bitcoin, over 4,000 alternative forms of cryptocurrency, called altcoins, have been created.

How Cryptocurrency Works

You can acquire cryptocurrency in two ways — by mining cryptocurrency or by exchanging it.

Cryptocurrency miners are the people who maintain the blockchain. They validate all transactions by using software and hardware to solve cryptographic puzzles and receive coins as a reward. This process also creates new coins. Mining cryptocurrency requires a huge amount of computer processing power and electricity, so the costs of mining often outweigh benefits of earning cryptocurrency.

A cryptocurrency exchange is where people can trade their cryptocurrency for traditional money or other digital currencies, and this is where the “value” of various types of cryptocurrency is determined. The exchange acts as an intermediary between people who want to sell and buy cryptocurrency and charges fees to exchange cryptocurrency or takes the difference between the selling and buying prices as a transaction commission.

You can also trade cryptocurrency in a peer-to-peer exchange. Cryptocurrency is stored and transferred between cryptocurrency wallets, which all have a private key to “sign” each transaction and a public key for others to check that a transaction is valid.

Because they are in the blockchain, transaction amounts are public, but information about who sent or received a transaction is encrypted. This makes cryptocurrency a pseudo-anonymous system. It is impossible to trace transactions back to their senders or recipients because the blockchain only has a record of each user’s public key. Without knowing the private key to a user’s account, you cannot identify exactly who is behind a specific transaction.

How Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) Work

How ATMs Work

An ATM, or an automated teller machine, is a common fixture of our everyday lives now. Instead of being limited to a single bank location where you have a checking account, today you can access your funds from an ATM on the other side of the country. It’s a quick and convenient way for us to withdraw cash when we need it, but how exactly do ATM transactions work?

Simply put, an ATM is a data terminal with input and output devices. Like any other data terminal, the ATM connects to and communicates through a host processor, which is similar to an Internet service provider (ISP) in that it is the gateway through which all the many ATM networks become available to the cardholder, or the person withdrawing cash. The host processor acts as the intermediary between the ATM and the bank computer, and these three points are connected through a telephone network.

Parts of an ATM

An ATM has two input devices:

  • Card reader: The card reader takes the account information stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of a card, whether it’s an ATM, debit or credit card. The host processor inside the ATM uses this information to route the transaction to the cardholder’s bank.
  • Keypad: The keypad is how the cardholder controls the ATM to tell the bank what kind of transaction they want to do, such as a cash withdrawal or deposit. The keypad is also where the cardholder enters their personal identification number (PIN) for account verification. Federal law requires that the PIN block be sent to the host processor in encrypted form, which protects the cardholder from having their PIN be compromised.

An ATM has four output devices:

  • Speaker: The speaker provides audible feedback for the cardholder when they press a button.
  • Display screen: The display screen prompts the cardholder through each step of the transaction process.
  • Receipt printer: The receipt printer produces a paper receipt of the transaction for the cardholder. Many ATMs also allow cardholders to choose to have a digital receipt emailed to them instead of receiving a physical copy.
  • Cash dispenser: The heart of an ATM is the safe that contains and dispenses cash. The entire bottom portion of most small ATMs is a safe.

How ATM Transactions Work

The most common use for an ATM is to withdraw cash from a bank account. After you insert your ATM or debit card, enter your PIN and request a transaction, an electric eye in the cash-dispensing mechanism counts each bill as it exits the dispenser. All the information about a particular transaction, including the bill count, is recorded in a journal. The journal information is printed out periodically and the machine owner maintains a hard copy for two years, in the case that a cardholder has a dispute about a transaction.

The cash dispenser also has a sensor to evaluate the thickness of each bill. If two bills are stuck together, they are not dispensed to the cardholder but instead are diverted to a reject bin. Bills that are excessively worn, torn or folded are also sent to the reject bin.

Searching for ATM Supplies?

CONTROLTEK offers affordable ATM supplies for businesses of any size. Explore our inventory of ATM supplies today and contact us if you have any questions!

FaceApp Isn’t the Privacy Threat We Should Worry About

This article originally appeared in Loss Prevention Magazine.

Recently in the news you probably saw, read, or heard something about FaceApp—a mobile application that takes a picture and uses artificial intelligence to change the age, hair color, facial structure, and other facial attributes. There has been a high degree of scrutiny around the app and news articles from just about every major news publication, from Forbes to independent news sources, about the privacy risks in using FaceApp.

Earlier in July, a software developer named Joshua Nozzi tweeted about these purported privacy violations, warning people that FaceApp “immediately uploads your photos without asking, whether you chose one or not.” It was this tweet that sparked the media frenzy around FaceApp. FaceApp later released a statement in response to this accusation that the app only uploads selected photos, not all your photos, to a company server and applies a filter, just like any other online photo-editing software or app. Furthermore, all the app’s features are accessible without an account, so 99 percent of users don’t log in and therefore have not shared their personal data with the app.

The terms of service, much like many online free or paid services, are ambiguous at best: they’re long, laborious, and hard to understand for the layperson. FaceApp’s terms are straightforward. They have “a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you.” When you read that and the news gets hold of it, the first thing that is thought is that they can do anything they want with all your data. However, this just means that they can do anything they want with your uploaded photos, like sell it or use it for advertising, not your other personal data.

Evidence wise, there is nothing to show that FaceApp is stealing data. In fact, you consent to giving them your photo, much like you do with other online services like Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, and others. I strongly recommend that you read other terms of service; you’d be quite surprised with what Facebook can do with your data.

FaceApp is no different than most apps that are out there. For any app you don’t have to pay money for, you’re giving something else up. In a previous article “We Gave Up Privacy for Convenience Years Ago” I talked about the fact that we are the product, not the app. All these apps need to monetize their services some way, often by using our information, photos, or our location. This has been happening as early as the 1990s, when Google launched its search engine and collected the data to sell to advertisers. This business model still exists today, with Facebook making over 98 percent of its revenue on advertising alone in order to profit from a social media platform that is free for users.

FaceApp has some eerie things that are different than other apps, but it is mostly similar. One of the public’s big concerns is what happens with that photo when you upload it to the app and what can be done. There are some rumors about the potential for the app to be a training facial recognition algorithm. This could be true, but this theory doesn’t make a lot of sense based on the app. This type of app is not new; in 2017 FaceApp came under fire for using a blackface filter. It was promptly removed, but the app has been in and out of the news for a while.

FaceApp is a lot of fun, and I’ve used it myself. I think when you’re online you must take necessary precautions to protect your privacy, and everything you do is a choice. If you choose to use FaceApp or any other social media, there is some sort of cost. Wired published an article called “Think FaceApp is Scary? Wait Till You Hear about Facebook,” where it highlights the concerns we should all have about online privacy and social media, and I couldn’t agree more. Facebook has similar terms of service as FaceApp, but the public isn’t nearly as concerned about this. Being worried about FaceApp is understandable, but you should extend this caution to social media and free apps in general because they all use your data. At least FaceApp produces a cool looking picture in return for collecting your data.

PC Magazine’s article “Is FaceApp Really a Privacy Threat?” offers almost the exact same opinion as mine in this article. It also touches on whether you should be afraid of the Russian connection of FaceApp. In fact, only the FaceApp developers are in Russia, but the company is based in the United States. It’s common to have overseas developers, so this is no surprise to cybersecurity experts.

According to a lot of security researchers, including myself, we all should calm down. The app isn’t trying to invade your privacy or mass upload photos from your phone. There is no evidence to support that this is happening. You should be careful with any application that you upload information to, not just FaceApp because it has ties to Russia.

Tom’s column is featured in every issue of Loss Prevention Magazine. To subscribe to the printed version of the magazine and enjoy other great content, visit

8 Ways to Spot Counterfeit Money

(Originally published in Loss Prevention Magazine)

Though UV counterfeit detection lamps and counterfeit money pens are helpful counterfeit detection tools, there are many ways to tell if a bill is authentic or counterfeit. Physical characteristics of the banknote, such as ink, watermarks and text, are intentional security measures to help people recognize authentic money.

When employees learn how to spot a fake 100 dollar bill, they can help reduce the chances of a business suffering a loss of thousands of dollars. Here is a list of eight ways to tell if a bill is real or counterfeit:

Color-shifting Ink

One of the first things to check to see if a bill is authentic is if the bill denomination on the bottom right-hand corner has color-shifting ink. All bills of $5 or more have this security feature, going back to 1996.

If you hold a new series bill (except for the new $5 bill) and tilt it back and forth, you can see that the numeral in the lower right-hand corner shifts from green to black or from gold to green.


The watermark is a characteristic security feature of authentic banknotes. Many of the new bills use a watermark that is actually a replica of the face on the bill. On other banknotes, it is just an oval spot.

Here are some things to keep in mind when looking at a bill’s watermark:

  • The watermark should only be visible when you hold the bill up to the light.
  • The watermark should be on the right side of the bill.
  • If the watermark is a face, it should exactly match the face on the bill. Sometimes counterfeits bleach lower bills and reprint them with higher values, in which case the face wouldn’t match the watermark.
  • If there is no watermark or the watermark is visible without being held up to the light, the bill is most likely a counterfeit

Blurry Borders, Printing or Text

An automatic red flag for counterfeit bills is noticeably blurry borders, printing or text on the bill. Authentic bills are made using die-cut printing plates that create impressively fine lines, so they look extremely detailed. Counterfeit printers are usually not capable of the same level of detail. Take a close look, especially at the borders, to see if there are any blurred parts in the bill. Authentic banknotes also have microprinting, or finely printed text located in various places on the bill. If the microprinting is unreadable, even under a magnifying glass, it is probably counterfeit.

Raised Printing

All authentic banknotes have raised printing, which is difficult for counterfeiters to reproduce. To detect raised printing, run your fingernail carefully down the note. You should feel some vibration on your nail from the ridges of the raised printing. If you don’t feel this texture, then you should check the bill further.

Security Thread with Microprinting

The security thread is a thin imbedded strip running from top to bottom on the face of a banknote. In the $10 and $50 bills the security strip is located to the right of the portrait, and in the $5, $20 and $100 bills it is located just to the left.

Authentic bills have microprinting in the security thread as another layer of security. Below is a list of the microprinted phrases on authentic banknotes:

  • $5 bill says “USA FIVE”
  • $10 bill says “USA TEN”
  • $40 bill says “USA TWENTY”
  • $50 bill says “USA 50”
  • $100 bill says “USA 100”

Ultraviolet Glow

Counterfeit detection tools and technology use ultraviolet light because this is a clear-cut way of telling if a bill is counterfeit. The security thread on authentic bills glow under ultraviolet light in the following colors:

  • $5 bill glows blue
  • $10 bill glows orange
  • $20 bill glows green
  • $50 bill glows yellow
  • $100 bill glows red/pink

Red and Blue Threads

If you take a close look at an authentic banknote, you can see that there are very small red and blue threads woven into the fabric of the bill. Although counterfeit printers try to replicate this effect by printing a pattern of red and blue threads onto counterfeit bills, if you can see that this printing is merely surface level, then it is likely the bill is counterfeit.

Serial Numbers

The last thing to check on a bill is the serial number. The letter that starts a bill’s serial number corresponds to a specific year, so if the letter doesn’t match the year printed on the bill, it is counterfeit. Below is the list of letter-to-year correspondence:

  • E = 2004
  • G = 2004A
  • I = 2006
  • J = 2009
  • L = 2009A

These security measures were designed not just to deter criminals from attempting to counterfeit money but to help people and businesses recognize counterfeit money when they see it. If you see even one error that could mean a bill is counterfeit, you should report it to the U.S. Currency Education Program to protect yourself from being held liable for any losses and to inform the Federal Reserve about counterfeit bills in circulation.

Use Counterfeit Detectors

Counterfeit detectors can be helpful for a business to easily train employees on how to spot counterfeit currency. Explore CONTROLTEK’s counterfeit money detector solutions and contact us for your retail and banking security solution needs!