Increase in fake banknote reports in first half of 2019

844 counterfeit banknotes have been taken out of circulation so far this year

There was an increase in the number of fake banknotes taken out of circulation in the first half of 2019
There was an increase in the number of fake banknotes taken out of circulation in the first half of 2019

An increase in the number of fake banknotes taken out of circulation was registered in the first half of 2019, the Central Bank said on Friday.

A total of 844 notes were taken out of circulation during the first six months of the year, more than the previous six-month period and the same period last year.

The Central Bank noted that the number of seizures during 2017 and 2018 were substantially lower than the amounts reported in previous years.

Furthermore, it said that when compared to the 12.16 million genuine banknotes in circulation, the number of counterfeits “remained insignificant”.

“It is also low (0.33%) as a proportion of the 251,000 counterfeit pieces seized in the Euro area, as a whole over the same period,” the Central Bank said.

At 0.33%, Malta’s proportion of fake banknotes when compared to the European total is almost ten times greater than its proportion of genuine bank notes, which is roughly 0.05% of the total. There were roughly 23 billion Euro notes in circulation during the first half of 2019, according to the European Central Bank.  

The Central Bank said that Malta registered a similar trend to that observed in the Euro area, where €20 and €50 notes continued to be the most counterfeited denominations.

These two denominations, it said, accounted for 89.0% of all counterfeits during the first half of 2019.

Finally, the bank said it wanted to remind the pubic that new €100 and €200 banknotes, with enhanced security features, were issued on 28 May 2019.

It said that banknote equipment manufacturers will continue to receive support from the Eurosystem in adapting their machines and authentication devices to the new banknotes.

“Notwithstanding the low figures of counterfeits reported locally, the Central Bank of Malta continues to advise the public to remain alert with regard to banknotes received in cash transaction,” the bank said.

Genuine banknotes can be easily recognised using the simple “FEEL-LOOK-TILT” test, which is described on the Bank’s website.

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