Be on the lookout fake banknotes

bundles of cash

In the lead up to Christmas, the independent crime-fighting charity, Crimestoppers, is appealing for information on those making, buying or selling counterfeit banknotes.

Often viewed as minor offences, many do not realise the seriousness of these types of operations which are frequently linked to serious and organised crime.

Counterfeit crimes are rarely victimless, with incidents in various parts of the UK that have seen retailers, businesses, schools, charities and the elderly conned out of money.

In the first half of 2015, around 119,000 worthless counterfeit banknotes with a notional value of £2.3m were removed from the UK’s streets, while the figure for the whole of 2014 was around £8m.

While it is encouraging that the figure has dropped, retailers should remain vigilant, signs of what to look for include:

  • Feeling for raised print across the words ‘Bank of England’
  • Holding the note up to the light to check the watermark
  • Looking for the metallic thread running through every genuine note

Director of Operations for Crimestoppers, Roger Critchell, said: “The purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness of counterfeit money, especially around Christmas when money can be tight”

Ben Crosland, Senior Manager of the Banknote Education Team at the Bank of England, said: “The general public play an important role when it comes to reporting counterfeit currency, and campaigns like this are essential to encourage the public and businesses to help us and our partners at the National Crime Agency stop the counterfeiters.”

If you have information on those making, selling or buying counterfeit notes then please contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the Anonymous Online Form at

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