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Fake bank notes circulating at alarming rate as cops warn Aussies to be on the look-out

Fake bank notes circulating at an alarming rate as cops warn Aussies to be on the lookout – so can you see what’s wrong with this counterfeit bill?

  • Aussies warned to be on alert as fake $100 notes are circulated in communities
  • Counterfeiters using fake notes to purchase goods listed on online marketplace
  • Police have urged Aussies to use the ‘scrunch test’ to ensure bank notes are legit

Fake bank notes are circulating in Australia’s capital cities at an alarming rate as the simple way to spot a counterfeit note is revealed.  

Forged $100 bills are spreading through communities as money launderers and criminals kick off the circulation by using them to pay for high-value items listed by sellers on online marketplaces before unwitting victims pass the notes on. 

Authorities warn a growing number of counterfeiters are posing as buyers of items like bikes and laptops and using fake notes to rip-off unsuspecting sellers.  

Fake bank notes are circulating in Australia’s capital cities at an alarming rate as the simple way to spot a counterfeit note is revealed (pictured, people use an ATM in Adelaide)

Forged $100 bills are being spread through communities after being passed person-to-person as payment for items listed on online marketplaces (stock image)

Forged $100 bills are being spread through communities after being passed person-to-person as payment for items listed on online marketplaces (stock image)

Aussies are unlikely to check their bank notes for discrepancies due to a high level of confidence that counterfeit notes will be taken out of circulation, as well as a low expectation of receiving a fake bill, a recent survey by the Reserve Bank of Australia found. 

The RBA revealed the majority of fake bills are found in Sydney and Melbourne, with police last month discovering fake $100 bills had even made it into the Northern Territory.

South Australian Police also issued a warning late last year after a string of Adelaide businesses were targeted with fake $50 and $100 bills, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Fake notes can be identified by a number of physical differences – with Aussies encouraged to try to make a small tear in a corner of a suspected fake. 

Fake notes can be identified by a number of physical differences - with Aussies encouraged to try to make a small tear in a corner of a suspected fake (stock image)

Fake notes can be identified by a number of physical differences – with Aussies encouraged to try to make a small tear in a corner of a suspected fake (stock image)

Fake notes are much easier to tear than real ones and there are a number of things you can spot in the clear window that will help you spot a fake

Fake notes are much easier to tear than real ones and there are a number of things you can spot in the clear window that will help you spot a fake

If the corner tears, ‘suspicions should be raised’ a Victoria Police spokeswoman said. 

When testing the first series of polymer bank notes, Aussies should check for a clear window in the bottom corner and use a UV light to ensure the features glow. 

To test the features of the new series of polymer notes, the notes can be tilted to see if the bird’s wings move and change colour. 

The ‘scrunch test’ can also be used because real notes are made out of plastic and will therefore spring back to shape when scrunched. 

Aussies should also inspect the serial numbers on counterfeit notes – which are different on real notes but usually all the same on fakes. 

If a note doesn’t feature the clear window on the bottom corner, it is counterfeit.  

The $100 banknote features the Acacia pycnantha and the Australian Masked Owl, as well as the portraits of Sir John Monash and Dame Nellie Melba. 

Legitimate bank notes have an array of identifiable security features (pictured)

Legitimate bank notes have an array of identifiable security features (pictured)

General Sir John Monash was a celebrated civil engineer and military commander of the Second World War while Dame Nellie Melba was a world-renowned opera singer. 

In 2016 the RBA began releasing new bank notes with upgraded security features to reduce the capacity of counterfeiters to make copies.

Since the inception of the new bank notes the counterfeiting rate per million has more than halved.

Australia’s level of counterfeiting is low by international standards, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A COUNTERFEIT NOTE:

It is an offence to knowingly possess counterfeit banknotes

If you come in contact with a note you suspect to be counterfeit you should take the following steps:

1. Handle the suspect banknote as little as possible and store it in an envelope.

2. Note any relevant information, such as how it came into your possession.

3. Report the matter immediately to state or federal police.

Ways to check if a note is real by looking at the clear strip in the note:

– Tilt the note to see the bird’s wings move and change colour, and the number change direction

– Tilt to see a rolling colour effect on the hologram above the note’s value

– The RBA has an extensive list of security features for each note. 

Source: The Reserve Bank of Australia

 

 

 

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