Retailers have reported a rise in the frequency and quality of counterfeit bank notes. The busy Christmas shopping season is prime time for counterfeit notes to pass through without detection as staff don’t have the time to check.
Though fake $50 notes remain the most popular, with the release of the new $100 note in October retailers suspect that fraudsters are trying to run through their supply of old notes. Alarmingly, the quality of fake notes are also increasing. The Royal Bank of Australia (RBA) graded 40% of the counterfeit notes it received as “good to excellent.”
Retailers need to be aware that counterfeit notes have no value. If they are banked, financial institutions will simply deduct the amount from your account – you will not be reimbursed.
How to spot a fake
One of the easiest ways to check is the “scrunch test”. Australian banknotes are printed on plastic, try scrunching the bank note in your hand – a genuine banknote should spring back.
You can also check that the clear window is part of the banknote as opposed to an addition and that the white image on the window cannot easily be rubbed off.
If you suspect a banknote is fake, check the RBA Counterfeit Banknotes Guide. This is a handy resource to keep at the point of sale for your team. There is also an RBA Banknotes app for your phone, which can take you through the steps to check each type of note and then give you direction on what to do next.
Scanning machines are also available which can be purchased and used to verify each note. However, it is important to remember that the RBA app, scanning machines and other methods of checking for counterfeit notes are not foolproof due to the rapidly improving quality of counterfeit notes.
How to avoid accepting a fake note
- Be vigilant – especially in very busy times.
- Don’t allow the customer to rush you at the point of sale.
- Train all staff on what to look out for – especially young / inexperienced staff.
- Don’t be afraid to refuse to accept a note that looks suspicious. You have the legal right to refuse to accept any note that you suspect of being fake.
About the National Retail Association SafeCity Network
The National Retail Association’s SafeCity Network brings together retailers, government and law enforcement to better inform and equip retailers to reduce retail crime. By reducing crime over the long term, the program aims to attract more shoppers and visitors, and ultimately create a more vibrant, safer retail precincts. Participants in the SafeCity Network gain access to regular crime alerts and bulletins based on real-world intelligence shared by other retailers.
The National Retail Association urges retailers to report all instances of crime to Policelink so that law enforcement can get a more accurate reflection of the scope of the issue and deploy relevant resources in the future. To find the relevant state or territory online crime reporting platform, please click here.
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