Stay ahead of counterfeiters


A World Coin News A reader recently reacted to the European Union’s announcement that the EU will be redesigning its banknotes by saying: “I think the less change there is to banknotes and coins, the better for trade and the general perception of stability,” adding, “the predictability of the look and feel of US dollars or Swiss currency seems reassuring.

My response was: “Predictability can be reassuring, but if the designed banknotes (and coins) aren’t changed periodically, it gives counterfeiters time to catch up with the technology.”

In recent history, we have gone from exclusively using coins as currency to adding banknotes, checks, credit cards, smart cards, debit cards, and now many forms of storing and transferring electronic values ​​to our currency mix.

Despite dubious proclamations, coins and banknotes will be completely replaced by these electronic systems, as long as central banks are willing to add more security to our physical currency and, in doing so, stay ahead of the counterfeiters, these monetary instruments will survive.

There are a significant number of coins and banknotes currently in circulation around the world that are getting a facelift as new anti-counterfeiting technologies become available. Croatia has recently made headlines due to the country’s acceptance of the European Union’s common monetary unit, the euro, while abandoning the kuna. It may seem paltry, but the 8,075 counterfeit banknotes identified in 2021 in Croatia represent 77.8% more than those detected a year earlier.

The kuna accounted for 49.5% of these counterfeits, but the balance was made up of US dollars, EU euros, Swiss francs and sterling banknotes.

Euro banknotes are to undergo a design change. Coins should continue to bear the same European design as in the past. Globally, the number of counterfeit euro banknotes detected in 2021 fell to around 347,000 coins, from 460,000 a year earlier. This favorable statistic was partly due to the arrest by Interpol, the German regional criminal police of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Italian finance corps in Rome and Naples of a group of drug traffickers associated with the mafia clan of the Camorra in May 2021 who were distributed counterfeit money. . On September 30, US Customs seized a large shipment consisting mainly of counterfeit Euros manifesting as “Monopoly Money” from Russia.

The number of counterfeit British £1 coins has led to their withdrawal in favor of a coin with better counterfeit protection measures. The EU 2 euro coin remains the target of counterfeiters. Japan released a new 500 yen two-tone three-layer ringed bimetallic coin into circulation at the end of 2021. The Japanese coin has an exchange rate of US$4.35, making it a major target for counterfeiters. Likewise, Switzerland remains vigilant as counterfeiters consider the 5-franc coin in circulation (exchange rate of approximately US$5.44).

On February 13, an internal Black History Month message sent to her department by United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reaffirmed Harriet Tubman’s “placement on the $20 bill.” The “Monopoly Money” seizure mentioned above included $6,515 in counterfeit US$5 bills. Counterfeit $20 and $100 bills abound.

On February 13, the Guild of Professional Numismatists warned coin collectors and bullion coin investors about “counterfeit coins and fake gold”. This includes the Silver American Eagles.

In January, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said, “BSP is proposing to increase the term of imprisonment to deter counterfeiting by amending existing laws.

Also in January, the Central Bank of Liberia issued a statement titled “Don’t Panic” following the seizure of 1 million Liberian dollars in counterfeit $500 banknotes. Liberia is in the process of changing all its coins and banknotes.

Nothing is completely safe from counterfeiters. In 2021, Russian police arrested counterfeiters exchanging approximately 1 billion rubles in fake rubles (approximately US$13.3 million) for bitcoin in Nizhny Novgorod using the infamous dark network Hydra.

Counterfeit North Korean currency has been reported in Thailand as well as in markets within North Korea itself. No one seems certain what happened to North Korea’s counterfeit $100 “supernote” bills.

Even poor countries like Bangladesh have their problems. Counterfeit Indian currency is believed to be printed in Pakistan and “appears to have proliferated in Bangladesh over the past year”, according to The Diplomat newspaper on February 19. Daka police recently seized what was described as “a colossal amount” of counterfeit banknotes.

Coins and banknotes will continue to be counterfeited. The key to ensuring these forms of currency continue to circulate is to stay one step ahead of counterfeiters at all times.


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