Strong 47% rise in number of counterfeit euro banknotes discovered

Many more fake euro banknotes were discovered in the Netherlands last year compared to a year earlier, according to De Nederlandse Bank (DNB). The country’s central bank said this is almost entirely due to poorly made counterfeit versions of 100 and 200 euro banknotes. In recent years, 50 euro banknotes, which are the most frequently counterfeited internationally, have been found less often in the Netherlands.

A total of 38,200 counterfeit euro banknotes were seized in the Netherlands last year, an increase of 47 percent. Worldwide, approximately 376,000 were found, an increase of 8 percent. The DNB said the chance of discovering a counterfeit is small, with a total of 29 billion banknotes in circulation.

The number of counterfeits found during 2020 and 2021 in the Netherlands, the years most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, was much lower than in the previous years at around 26,000. People went out less and paying with cash also became less common as one method to reduce the risk of infection.

Last year, the number of counterfeits rose almost back to the level of 2019, when just under 39,000 counterfeit notes were discovered.

The DNB said most of the banknotes were very low-quality forgeries, and only a few showed signs of trying to mimic the security features of an original banknote. In these cases, fraud can be more easily detected. In recent years, the counterfeit banknotes were more likely to be of a poorer quality. By 2022, these cheap counterfeits will account for two-thirds of all copied banknotes.

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