Uptick in counterfeit euro seizures reported in 2023

Around 467,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation in 2023, a nearly 25 per cent increase on the prior year but still one of the lowest levels ever in proportion to total banknotes in circulation.

The new figures from the European Central Bank (ECB) showed that once again €20 and €50 notes were the banknotes most likely to be counterfeited, jointly accounting for around 70 per cent of the total, with just 16 counterfeits detected per million notes in circulation (see below). 2022 was a particularly low year for fake euros as a result of the COVID-10 pandemic.

The ECB also notes that 97.2 per cent of counterfeits were found in euro-area countries, while just 1.9 per cent were found in non-euro area EU member states and 0.9 per cent in other parts of the world.

“Most counterfeits are easy to detect as they have no, or only very poor, imitations of security features,” said the ECB. “The public need not be concerned about counterfeiting but should remain vigilant.”

Notes can be checked using the ‘feel, look and tilt’ method described on the ECB’s security features website here.

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