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It’s hard enough to spot a counterfeit banknote when you use them all the time, but how often do I use a €20 or  a £50 or a $100? Best to avoid them, in my opinion.

Oh dear. I notice that the ECB is about to waste a ton of time and money on a pointless investment in outdated technology.

Eurosystem to unveil the new €20 and support banknote equipment manufacturers and suppliers

[From ECB: Eurosystem to unveil the new €20 and support banknote equipment manufacturers and suppliers]

I have no idea what a €20 is supposed to look like (and there are some in my travel wallet at home). How I’m supposed to tell whether the new ones are real or not, I’ve no idea. Surely changing the notes will only make this problem worse, as it’s hard for us in the UK to tell whether euro banknotes are real or not.

Four people have been arrested on suspicion of fraud after more than £2m of counterfeit euros were found by police.

[From BBC News – Four arrested in Manchester over £2m of fake euros]

The best policy, as far as I can see, is to refuse to accept cash in payment for anything at all. It’s just too risky. And I’m not saying that because I don’t feel able to spot counterfeits in funny foreign money. I have no reason to suspect I’d be any better at spotting counterfeit UK currency either.

You can go a long time without seeing a single £50 note, as it’s the least-used banknote in retail. Their lifespan has been estimated at 41 years before they become unfit for circulation. The new polymer £50 note will last up to 100 years according to Bank of England estimates.

[From How dirty is a bank note, and how many times are they handled? | Metro News]

I can’t remember the last time I saw a £50 note even though they account for about a fifth of the money in circulation in the UK. But even if I did see a £50 note once in a while, I’m not sure how good I’d be at spotting counterfeits: maybe I could try and find a drug dealer or corrupt public official to check it for me, but I wouldn’t know where to find one at the drop of a hat. Although I think even I might have spotted this bent £20 note:

The fake £20 note comprised of two colour photocopied pieces of paper, cut to shape and stapled (yes, they didn’t even bother investing in some glue or double sided tape) together.

[From Greater Manchester police confiscate the worst counterfeit note EVER | Metro News – Linkis.com]

By the way, the best bit about this story is that even though I might well have spotted this, having a reasonable inkling that the Bank of England tends not to staple its notes together, not everyone in our United Kingdom has this superpower.

…this crappy counterfeit was actually accepted as legal tender by an unnamed shop in Manchester.

[From Greater Manchester police confiscate the worst counterfeit note EVER | Metro News – Linkis.com]

Wow. If I was running a shop in Manchester or anywhere else I’d add a surcharge to all cash payments to cover the cost of fraud. Seriously though: as cash is replaced at POS so most of the cash in circulation is in the form of high value notes that are used for criminal purposes. If we don’t handle them that often, surely we are going to be ever more susceptible to counterfeits and will incur ever-greater losses. Unless, of course, no-one else can detect the counterfeits either…

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