Paper Money

Dutch firm warns of proliferation of euro counterfeiting

A huge Spanish counterfeiting bust took place on March 1, 2022, when the Spanish National Police and the regional Catalan Police, with the cooperation of Europol, dismantled an organized crime ring involved in the production and distribution of counterfeit euro bank notes.

Image courtesy of Europol.

Keesing Technologies, a Dutch company that specializes in bank note authentication solutions, issued a report in February on counterfeit euro notes in the COVID-19 era, noting that, while the pandemic shut down much of the world, the printing and distribution work of counterfeiters continued unabated.

According to Banknote Industry News, the 376,000 fake notes pulled from circulation in 2022 are equal to 13 fakes per million, an 8% increase over 2021, but still the second lowest ever as a percentage of bank notes in circulation. A reported 63.6% of the total were in two denominations: 23.6% for the €20 note and a whopping 40% for the €50 note. Most were low-quality printed forgeries with either poor or no security features and should have been caught by any user paying even the scantest of attention.

The Netherlands was an exception with a 47% increase from 2021 to 38,200 notes, with 51.6% of the total being fake €100 and €200 notes. Other countries specifically cited were Germany, with a 5.2% increase to 44,100 notes, mainly in €20 notes and €50 notes; Austria, where the 3,971 fake notes withdrawn represented an 11% decrease; and Finland where the meager 469 notes found represented a 10.3% decrease.

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