July 25, 2008

Counterfeit £20 Notes Flooding UK

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:36 am


Warnings have been issued about the use of forged £20 banknotes across the country in the last few weeks now reaching epidemic proportions.  Police officers have become aware of counterfeit £20 notes circulating in shops and other outlets across the UK and are advising retailers to compare any suspect notes with one that is known to be genuine, as there is always something that the counterfeiters cannot reproduce properly – usually the watermark or on poor quality paper.

The quality of the paper used in genuine notes is specially manufactured and almost impossible to get hold of by counterfeiters. Two things can help prevent you being caught out by a forged note; the first is a specially made Counterfeit Detection Pen which reacts to normal paper but not to genuine currency paper. The other is a UV Lamp (either Handheld UV Lamps which are battery operated or Mains operated units available) which will illuminate the ultraviolet marking within a genuine note.

Counterfeit Detection Pens are cheap to buy and have the advantage of being very easy to use in a busy environment, simply mark each note with a quick stroke of the pen and if the mark left is clear or feint then the note is probably okay but if it leaves a dark or black mark, the note must be treated as suspect.

UV Lamps work differently, by placing a note beneath the UV Light,  it will illuminate the ultraviolet marking hidden within a genuine note but can only be seen under the black light.  On all notes except the £50 note, the UV marking is the denomination of the note (figure 5 for a £5 note and the figure 10 for a £10 note etc). On a £50 note, there should be no reflection at all. Most forgeries are based on the £20 note, this is because a £50 note attracts attention of the shopkeeper whereas a £20 note is so common these days that they barely have a 2nd glance at them and of course, it is better for the forger to get £20 than £5 or £10, hence the proliferation of forged £20 notes at the moment! 

There is also a mains operated UV Lamp available which will not only give a brighter UV light but also contains a built in white light so that you can also check the watermarks (which are almost impossible for the forger to copy). Another good use for the white light is to check the silver line running through a note. On a genuine note the line is only intermittent appearing as dashes but the forger cannot do that but makes the line appear to be dashed, however, under the white light the line shows up as continuous, another forged note saved! 

Often counterfeit notes will be handed over among genuine ones, so shopkeepers are advised to check all money thoroughly but particularly £20 notes – and shoppers and shopkeepers should be aware that if they receive a counterfeit note, the bank will not compensate them.

More information about forged notes can be found on the Bank of England’s website.

1 Comment »

  1. I got a counterfeit £20 note from an ATM in a shop but they won’t compensate me for it. I have also spoken to three people who got these notes from ATMs outside of banks and went straight in to report it but were not compensated. Shouldn’t it be up to the banks to check these before they pass them on to the public?

    Comment by sandy nye — November 18, 2009 @ 10:52 am

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