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German Police Expect Fewer Counterfeit Euros in 2017

The State Criminal Police Office (Landeskriminalamt or LKA in German), issued a statement that dually functioned as a warning. According to Nevin Ayyildiz, a spokesperson for the LKA, counterfeit €20-notes and €50-notes accounted for 60 percent of Hanover’s cashflow. However, the LKA spokesperson announced that the Police expect to see a “moderate decline” in counterfeit currency—compared to last year.

In 2016, police seized 7,000 counterfeit Euro notes in Hanover. Despite the high number of cases that involved counterfeit money, the LKA had bright news. They expect a ten percent decrease in counterfeit usage next year. Researchers, the spokesperson announced, found that more banks and stores were learning to identify the fake currency. Previously, only the banks could detect the false notes—depending on the quality of the note itself. Now, the quality of the fake notes is “rather moderate,” Ayyildiz said. The average store, “such as baker’s shop and at petrol stations,” started catching the notes, and those stores were the primary victim in 2016.

Regardless of the expected decline in fraudulent money circulation, the LKA warned the potential recipients of the counterfeits. Those who paid with false €50s heard the same warning. The quality of the average fake banknote improved since its introduction but so have the security features on modern prints. The Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt or BKA in German) released an informational report on detecting counterfeit Euros.

The report included details on methods used to identify the fakes, along with information about the counterfeiter himself. For instance, under the “How good is a counterfeit Euro?” section:

Moreover, when accurately identifying the currency, even an ordinary person can recognize euro falsifications. The forger usually does not try to make a perfect counterfeit of real money. According to a “cost-benefit principle,” he often makes the effort which he considers necessary to put the counterfeit in question into circulation as opposed to creating actual money (BKA).

The BKA publication prompted the release of notices from major banks including The German Federal Bank (Bundesbank). They explained how to detect a fake and provided interactive photographs with fake vs. real pointers. A concise version of their guide is below.

  1. Look at your money exactly!
  2. Do not rely on a safety feature alone.
  3. Follow the principle of “feel-and-see-tipping.”
  4. Obtain a comparison note.
  5. If you still have any doubts, please check the banknote with other branches The German Federal Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank)

When asked where the fake money came, the LKA spokesperson said South and South Eastern Europe. However, according to estimates from the LKA, criminals distributed 20 percent of the current counterfeit Euros via the darknet. “The trend is increasing,” he said. Not only do people sell the counterfeit notes and bills from various countries, but they additionally sell holograms and other counterfeiting tools.

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