Fake money

Criminals who make and sell fake money benefit at others expense. Fake money is made by organised criminal gangs who sell it to middle-men within communities.

Why are we focusing on counterfeit money?

In the lead up to Christmas we are launching the ‘Fake Money Is A Crime’ campaign to appeal for information on those producing, buying or selling fake banknotes.

This is not a victimless crime. Incidents have shown that retailers, schools, charities and the elderly are conned out of money across the UK due to counterfeit money.  Recently, a school fete in Kent were devastated to find out part of their takings from a fun day were counterfeit. The individual responsible went to different stalls and paid for low value items, such as a 50p games with a £20 note, saying they did not have any change.

In the first half of 2014, worthless counterfeit banknotes with a notional value of £4.2 million were removed from the UK's streets, while the figure for the whole of 2013 was £11.6 million. Whilst this is a tiny fraction of the £56 billion worth of genuine banknotes in circulation, it is still a large amount.

What can you do to help?

Help fight fake money - dealing in fake money is wrong and harms us all. It isn't fair that local businesses and individuals lose money at the hands of counterfeiters.

Counterfeit gangs can be stopped - a recent case saw four individuals arrested by the National Crime Agency, with two given seven year sentences in January 2013 after producing £1.3 million worth of counterfeit notes.

Your information could help lead to similar results. If you know who's making, buying or selling fake money, help us to stop this crime. Tell us anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or by filling in our Anonymous Online Form.

How to check a bank note is genuine

Whenever you receive cash it’s important that you always make sure that it is genuine. Shopkeepers and small businesses are particularly at risk of receiving fake money if they’re not strict about checking all of the notes they receive. It is illegal to spend fake money and doing so could land you in prison.

When checking your banknotes, don’t just rely on one security feature but check a few such as:

  • The feel of the paper and the raised print
  • The watermark
  • The foil features
  • The metallic threads