Though the number of fake notes in circulation makes up less than 1% of the overall total, in the first half of 2017 nearly a quarter of a million worthless, counterfeit banknotes – with a notional value of more than £4.88m – were removed from the UK’s streets.
With Christmas a time when more money changes hands, businesses have been warned that fraudsters may look to take advantage of busy sites and temporary staff brought in for extra cover.
Highlight how fraudsters target victims
Crimestoppers operations director Roger Critchell commented: “Fake notes are completely worthless and knowingly holding or passing on counterfeit notes is a crime”.
“The purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness of counterfeit money, especially around Christmas when money can be tight, but also to highlight how heartless and callous fraudsters can be when targeting their victims”.
“I’d ask anyone with information on those selling counterfeit notes to contact Crimestoppers anonymously, safe in the knowledge no one will know you spoke to us, and knowing you may have prevented someone’s Christmas from being ruined.”
As well as raising public awareness of fake banknotes, Crimestoppers partnered with the Bank of England to launch the Banknote Checking Scheme in October – aimed at promoting banknote checking at point of sale for cash handling businesses through targeted training.
"An important role"
Ben Crosland, senior manager of banknote engagement and communications at the Bank of England, added: “The general public play an important role when it comes to reporting counterfeit currency.”
“Campaigns like this and the recently launched Banknote Checking Scheme, are essential to encourage the public and businesses to help us and law enforcement stop the counterfeiters.”
BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simonds commented: “The BBPA is continuing to address the issue of counterfeit bank notes.
"The BBPA is currently promoting the Bank of England Banknote Checking Scheme, which was launched in October, within its membership. Any business can sign up as a supporter by pledging their support annually to a set of six guiding principles. We encourage business of all sizes to pledge their support to this scheme.
“Due to the volume of banknotes the pub industry handles, in collaboration with National Pubwatch and other groups, the BBPA routinely provides guidance to pubs on how they can combat counterfeit banknotes.
“Over the festive period we urge pubs across the UK, especially those using temporary staff, to be vigilant and to regularly check £20 and £50 notes”.
- If you have any information about the manufacture, sale or purchase of counterfeit bank notes you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via the charity’s anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org/give-info.