Rise in counterfeit bank notes discovered in the Lothians and Borders

SBRC are making businesses aware of a recent increase in the amount of counterfeit Bank of England £50 notes being discovered in the Lothians and Borders having been passed to retailers.

There have also been instances of counterfeit £20 notes together with some Bank of Ireland notes.

SBRC recently communicated guidance on how to deal with counterfeit notes following instances of fake bank notes being passed in the North East of the country earlier this year, and we would remind businesses in Scotland once again to be vigilant, and report anything unusual to Police Scotland.

Below is a simple guide for you put together by SBRC's Serious Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism lead, David MacCrimmon.

Firstly, you will be aware of the feel of the paper on which genuine cash is printed, counterfeiters just can’t seem to get this right, it is hard to replicate, so if a note doesn’t feel right when you touch it then take a closer look. Criminals will sometimes tell you that it’s 'been in the wash'.

Criminals are very confident, and will be engaging to the point where sometimes alarm bells ring. Be on your guard for distraction attempts whilst you are handling cash to take your eye of the money and stop you from taking that closer look. It is ok to refuse a sale and ask someone to leave your premises, be confident and ready to do that.

Take a look at the security features. Make sure you are familiar with the metal security strip, what does that look like? Look at the print quality, the print on a genuine note will be sharp and well defined with no blurred edges. Look at the serial numbers, are they all the same on multiple notes tendered? Holograms and watermarks are also difficult to replicate, so check up against the light, move the note around to see the hologram interacting with movement.

If you have an ultraviolet (UV) light you will be able to check the security paper features itself, so it is wise to invest in one, whether it be a desktop UV light one to keep by the cash point or small keyring ones that each member of staff can have to hand.

Remember, report any attempts to pay with fake notes to police immediately so they can carry out the necessary investigation. On this last point try to handle any notes you suspect to be counterfeit as little as possible, try not to hand them over to other staff where possible, and keep them separate from anything else whilst you await the police, this gives them the potential to preserve valuable evidence. 

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