In an interesting turn of events, reports are emerging from the UK this week that the polymer notes that were supposedly difficult, if not impossible to forge, have actually been 'successfully' counterfeited and are being passed into businesses in the West Midlands.
"A new fake £20 note scam sees criminals using polymer paper to confuse shop assistants into thinking they are real. Polymer versions of the £20 note won’t go into circulation until 2020 but polymer is used in all new £5 and £10 notes. Forgers say that shop assistants are now more used to handling polymer cash, so they don’t pick up on the fact that old style £20 notes printed on polymer aren’t actually real.
Forgers say it is easy to buy polymer paper online and high grade printers available on the high street do the job of printing the £20 design onto it. But unlike real polymer notes, the printed ink doesn’t stick and the fakes start to peel off within a week.
A West Midlands forger told Metro.co.uk: ‘Shop assistants are so used to holding polymer notes dealing with £5 and £10 notes that when they feel our £20 they often just put it straight into the till. ‘However, they also trick some infrared machines which are designed for the old notes – so it is a case of turning up to a town hitting it hard and getting out. ‘Obviously it is a case of trial and error, but if we hit the shops, fairs, markets and pubs we will usually get rid of about 40 of the notes each day. ‘We know it is a crude way to make money, but times are hard.’
Last week Metro.co.uk reported on an influx of fake £20 notes being printed ‘in time for Christmas shopping’ in Birmingham, Daventry and Manchester. The fake twenties are usually sold for about £8 each if bought in bulk, but they must be paid for with legitimate pound sterling. The Bank of England has an app which helps people check to see if they have been given fake notes and outlines the damage they do to the economy on its website. It states: ‘Counterfeiting directly funds organised crime.'
‘It hurts the UK economy by creating losses for businesses, which ultimately affects the cost of things that we buy. It also affects the pocket of anyone who receives a counterfeit note, as they are worthless. If you report counterfeiting to the police, you are helping with investigations and alerting them to a problem in their area. This means that they can take action to protect your community.’
When the real polymer £20 notes do go into circulation in 2020, they will have a new design and will feature the face of artist JMW Turner."
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Published: 15th November 2018 | Adam Smith
Money Point does not recommend that business owners rely solely on counterfeit pens or ultraviolet lights as a means of protecting their business from counterfeit banknotes, as these devices can be easily fooled by good quality counterfeits.
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