Banknotes and Counterfeiting

The key message from the Bank of England is 'check your banknotes...'. In other words: let the user beware.

Counterfeit bank notes are worthless. Anyone accepting a counterfeit has no recourse to the Bank of England and, if they pass it on to another person, they commit an offence. In effect, the person left with the counterfeit has been robbed of the face value of the note or notes.

Protecting money against counterfeiting therefore becomes more important as currency systems get bigger. Over the last few years the number and sophistication of counterfeit bank notes has increased to such an extent that many counterfeit detection devices can no longer automatically catch them. This has meant that certain denominations are now considered suspect (e.g. £50 notes).

The counterfeiting problem has grown to international proportions and the efforts made to duplicate banknotes other rival that of small countries.

In America the introduction of colour copiers and increasingly sophisticated efforts of drug traffickers and terrorists looking for new ways to launder money, has put the US Treasury under intensive pressure.

Last year over $80 million in counterfeit US. notes were seized. However law enforcement openly admit that this was probably only the tip of the iceberg.

Governments all over the World are now openly admitting that counterfeiting of national currencies is completely out of control.