If you are a retailer or business that handles cash, then you could be a target for counterfeiters looking to pass their notes.
And, if you aren't routinely checking the notes you receive, the risk of getting caught out by these criminals only increases.
Counterfeits make up only a very small fraction of Bank of England banknotes in circulation. But as businesses, you and your staff need to be vigilant against them.
Counterfeiting directly funds organised crime, and it doesn't just hurt the businesses targeted, it also damages your community. The notes themselves are worthless. If you accept one unknowingly or otherwise, you or your business will be out of pocket and it could impact your customers.
Fortunately all Bank of England banknotes have a series of security features built into their design. These features will help you identify whether the notes are genuine.
Because these features can be checked quickly, they won't slow you down. The more aware you and your employees are of these security features, and the more of them you check at point-of-sale, the less likely you will be to fall victim to counterfeits. With the right training, you can easily check these security features. So what do you do if you think you've been handed a counterfeit note? You can't ignore it. Knowingly holding on to or passing counterfeit notes is illegal, and it could damage your reputation if one of your customers or suppliers realises you've given them a counterfeit banknote.
“I’m sorry, I think this is the counterfeit note”.
You should understand your company policy and know what to say to customers.
“I'm afraid I'm going to have to take this and ask for another form of payment”.
If the note turns out to be genuine, the customer will get their money back. Fill in a counterfeit receipt and send the banknote to the Bank of England, either directly or via your own bank.
However if you feel at risk, give the note back to the customer and ask for another form of payment. If you suspect the customer is purposefully trying to pass a counterfeit note, call the police, and if you have kept the note hand it over to them.
Confidence comes with experience and good training.
The more these checks become routine, the less risk there is of getting caught out.
For more information, or to download our free training materials, go to the banknote section on the Bank of England website.
You work hard, don't let counterfeits be a cost to your business, your customers or your reputation.