Counterfeit banknotes are rare, but it always pays to be careful. Only a small fraction of 1% of banknotes in circulation are counterfeit.
If you come across a counterfeit banknote, it is important that the police are contacted in all instances. They may be aware of other retailers/businesses in the local area who have also reported counterfeit notes. They may also want to pass on warnings to others via a local business network which may prevent further instances and/or lead to an arrest. Counterfeit banknotes are part of organised criminal activity. Each counterfeit note is evidence.
The Bank of England produce a wide variety of training materials for checking genuine banknotes, such as our Take A Closer Look training course and our Banknote Virtual Tour.
Counterfeit notes are worthless and as such no reimbursement of face value is given by the Bank of England.
Our advice is to remain vigilant at all times, check all notes as they are being passed in payment, and use the educational materials available on our web site to train staff in your business. Counterfeiters will target businesses where they know that banknotes are not being checked.
What should I do if I get a counterfeit banknote?
- Retain the suspect note without putting staff at risk
- Give the customer a receipt, explaining that the note will be handed to the police. Explain that suspect notes subsequently discovered to be genuine will be returned.
- Call the police and hand them the counterfeit note; or take it to a police station later if requested by them. They will send the suspect note to the Serious Organised Crime Agency. Counterfeit notes are subsequently sent to the Bank of England for analysis.