Did you know that the Secret Service was established by President Abraham Lincoln to fight currency counterfeiting problem during the Civil War?
While counterfeit money might not be as big a problem now as it was back during the Civil War, it is still a problem - more so in some countries than in others. Unfortunately, from time to time, the counterfeit problem of other countries might affect you - specifically when you're travelling and need to exchange your Kiwi dollars for the currency of another country.
The last thing you want is to land up with a heap of worthless banknotes when you do your foreign exchange, or get duped by a dodgy merchant with fake change. So, we think it's important for you to know some of the key security features to look for so you can spot a fake banknote.
Each currency has its own security features, so we could be here all day outlining them. Instead we have focused on some of the holiday destinations we Kiwis love to travel to.
All Australian banknotes have the same security features, so you can look for any of these on any of the denominations.
There are a number of security features included in US dollar banknotes, some only visible with UV lights or magnifying glasses But here are a few you can check quite easily:
Each of the Euro banknote denominations have a different colour and image, but they do share common security features to help you tell a fake note from a real one:
The UK currently has paper banknotes, and some new polymer notes in circulation. They do share some security features, but many are unique to the different types of banknotes.
On both the paper and the polymer notes:
One the paper notes, you should be able to see a metallic thread embedded into the paper - when you hold a real pound note up to the light, this should then appear as one continuous dark line.
The new polymer notes have a foil patch on them - when you tilt the note, the words should change. For example, on the £5 note, it changes from the word "Five" to "Pound".
Counterfeiters can often duplicate one or two of the security features of the different banknotes, but very rarely can they duplicate all of them. For this reason, you should try to check a few of them rather than just one or two. And, it will help to compare the suspect note against one that you know is genuine.
If any fake notes do accidentally make their way into your possession, you need to report it to the Police as soon as possible. We recommend not handling the money more than you need to - just put it in an envelope for the authorities and try not to touch it again. Also, make a note of how you came in to be in possession of the notes, and then pass it all over to the Police (or Secret Service).
Hopefully these few pointers will help you recognise a fake banknote over a real one - in that case, you can just refuse to accept the dodgy note and avoid dealing with counterfeit money altogether.
Currency and Counterfeiting statistics and information taken from the website of the Reserve Bank of Australia: https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2017/mar/8.html and http://banknotes.rba.gov.au/assets/pdf/counterfeit-detection-guide.pdf
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