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Difference Between Forgery and Counterfeiting

Difference Between Forgery and Counterfeiting

Although both forgery and counterfeiting may sound similar as both are done with the intent of deceiving, there is a difference between both. The difference between forgery and counterfeiting is that forgery is difficult to sometimes spot with naked eyes, while counterfeits can sometimes be detected physically.

Forgery deals with the unlawful altering of the genuine document, whereas counterfeiting deals with making false money, securities, and sometimes consumer products. Forgery is a crime, while counterfeiting is criminal intent.

This article further discusses in detail the various difference between forgery and counterfeiting.

 What are Forgery and Counterfeiting??

Forgery deals with the process of drawing, making, or altering a document with an intent to defraud a person or an organization. It is a white-collar crime. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgery but may be concluded as a forgery if done with a willful misinterpretation. However, counterfeiting is also the forging of money or currency. 

Counterfeit is defined as imitating something authentic to destroy, replace, or steal the original item for illegal transactions or deceive the individuals. The word counterfeit also involves imitation of clothes, handbags, pharmaceuticals, etc.

The types of forgery include 

  • Tracing- It involves tracing a genuine document using transmitted light or by tracing over the indentation left on the page underneath the original writing.
  • Simulation- It involves copying the content from the genuine document by trying to imitate the handwriting of the original.
  • Freehand- These are done with no knowledge of the appearance of the original.

The types of counterfeiting involve counterfeiting of money, counterfeiting of documents, counterfeiting of consumer goods such as apparel, accessories, watches and other goods, media products, drugs, etc.

Difference Between Forgery and Counterfeiting

DefinitionForgery is defined as the crime making, producing, or adapting documents or objects with the intent defraud a person, organization, or institution.Counterfeiting is defined as creating or making an unauthorized imitation of a genuine object with an intent to deceive others.
Types The various types of forgery are traced forgery, simulated forgery, memorized, or freehand forgery.Types of counterfeit include counterfeiting of documents, drugs, consumer goods, money, etc
Ways to spotEvidence of previous drawings that include the tracing of words or signatures.Tremors made by forgers make it distinguishable from the original writingUneven speed of writing and varying pen pressure and also hesitation marks are evident in a forged document.Unusual pen lifts are found in case of a forged documentWatermark is a security feature of authentic back notesA red flag for counterfeit bills are the blurry borders, blurred printing, or blurred texts on the billAuthentic banknotes have raised prints that cannot be produced by counterfeit notesCounterfeit bills give glow under ultraviolet light and help in detection of the same.
PunishmentSection 465 of IPC describes the punishment for forgery, whosoever commits forgery shall be imprisoned for a term of two years or with penalty or both. Forgery is a non-cognizable offense under forgery.Section 464 of IPC defines a false document.Section 467 of IPC deals with the punishment for forgery of valuable security, wills, etc that is imprisonment for a term of 1 year and can also be liable to pay a fine.The trademark act, copyright act, and patent act provide provisions that prohibit counterfeiting.Copyright act 1957, gives the police power to seize the copies of copyrighted works.


Both forgery and counterfeit are done with an intent to deceive and defraud the individual, institution, or organization. Generally, counterfeit products are often made with an intent to take advantage of the value of the imitated product.

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