Most of counterfeits are discovered before they go back into circulation, when businesses and the banking system are sorting them. A little proportion are detected by the public or retailers who hand them directly to the police, or when the police carry out search warrants. Counterfeits are typically removed from circulation quickly, often after a single use.
In 2020 typically a very small proportion of banknotes were counterfeit, that is less than 1 in 50,000 banknotes. At any one time, there is around 4.7 billion genuine banknotes in circulation, with a notional face value of £84 billion.
The figures show the 2020 data, along with annual data since 2005. Lower transactional usage of cash and the increased robustness of the polymer designs acted to reduce counterfeiting during 2021.
Counterfeit banknotes are rare but quality printed counterfeit do circulate.
The market for counterfeit currency has changed over the last ten years. High quality counterfeit paper banknotes can be produced very quickly by skilled printers using traditional offset lithographic methods. Offset lithographic printing remains the more serious threat; notes are of a high quality and can be produced quickly.
It is likely that the introduction of polymer notes will reduce the ability printing counterfeits notes but technology for quality undetectable banknotes keeps on improving.
While groups may produce their own unique fake banknotes, some will 'finish' (add the foil security features to) or distribute counterfeits from other groups. Circulating fake money is high risk, so large batches are broken down for distribution, usually by street-level criminals.
8/31/2022 10:38:42 pm
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Mike Lanla, a seasoned journalist with work experience at CNN since 2005.