Fake euro notes jump in 2014

200 euro notesThe European Central Bank has released data showing that the amount of counterfeit bank notes shot up in the second-half of 2014, although it stresses that the total number of fakes is low.

Its latest data, released this week, show that in the second half of 2014 a total of 507,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation, a massive jump of 44% up on the figure for the same period in 2013.

In a statement – and an attempt to put these numbers in context – the ECB says that the number of counterfeits "remains very low in comparison with the increasing number of genuine banknotes in circulation", which was over 16 billion during the second half of 2014.

The data show that the €20 and €50 notes continued to be the most counterfeited. The proportion of counterfeit €20 notes in fact increased in the last half of 2014, while counterfeit €50 notes decreased. Together, they accounted for 86 per cent of all fake notes.

The ECB reports that the vast majority (97.5 per cent) of the forgeries were found in euro area countries. Only around 2 per cent were found in EU Member States outside the euro area, and less than 0.5 per cent was found in other parts of the world.

The Eurosystem, which comprises the ECB and the national central banks of the euro area, has urged people to stay vigilant when receiving banknotes.

Genuine banknotes can be easily recognised using the simple 'feel, look and tilt' method described on the euro pages of the ECB's website and the websites of the Eurosystem national central banks.

The ECB says that banknote equipment manufacturers and suppliers will "continue to receive support from the Eurosystem in adapting their machines and authentication devices to the new banknotes".

It adds that if their equipment is still unable to accept the new Europa series banknotes, operators/owners should contact their suppliers or manufacturers 'without delay'.

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