Sunday 21 January 2018

ECB seizes 400,000 fake euro notes

Peter Flanagan

NEARLY 400,000 counterfeit euro bank notes were taken out of circulation in the first half of the year, new figures show.

According to the European Central Bank (ECB), about 387,000 fake notes were removed from public use between January and the end of June -- a decrease of around 13pc on the second half of 2009, when 447,000 notes were found.

Although the amount of counterfeit bank notes might seem high at first, the ECB said that overall it was very low, considering that there were more than 13 million genuine euro bank notes in circulation across the continent.

Nearly 85pc of the notes, which were either seized by authorities or handed in by the public, were €50 or €20 notes.

About 12pc ofthe counterfeits were denominated in €100 notes.

The smallest and largest denominations, €5 and €500, remain the least popular notes for counterfeiters.

Less than 1pc of all notes discovered were of those values.

Unsurprisingly, about 98pc of fake euro notes were found in the eurozone countries.

Tony Farrell, chief executive of Money Point, a cash management company, called for the Government and the banks to do more in order to protect the public.

"Financial institutions, including credit unions, banks and building societies, have a huge part to play," he said.

"By ensuring that all bank notes issued over the counter or through an ATM by financial institutions are 'fit' notes, the circulation of counterfeits will be greatly reduced," he said.

The ECB has introduced the Banknote Recycling Framework (BRF) to improve matters.

In order to comply with the BRF, financial institutions must authenticate every euro note using special equipment.

Also, a staff member should examine every note to ensure they are not counterfeits and are in a good state for return into circulation. The deadline for compliance is next January.

Irish Independent

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