Counterfeit currency: What to do if you receive counterfeit notes or coins and where to report
With an estimated 3.7 billion genuine bank notes currently in circulation in the UK, counterfeiting is viewed as big business by organised crime syndicates.
Only a small fraction of banknotes are counterfeit, but it is essential that they are reported to the police.
In 2018 alone, around 461,000 counterfeit Bank of England banknotes with a face value of £10 million were taken out of circulation.
Last month, reports surfaced of criminals using social media platforms such as Instagram to promote and sell counterfeit money with sellers offering counterfeit notes for as little as a tenth of their face value.
In West Yorkshire, police confirmed a spate of incidents across the county in which counterfeit notes were used to pay for goods purchased online.
Victims made arrangements for the buyer to visit their home and pay in cash, only to find out afterwards that counterfeit notes had been used to pay for the goods.
In many cases, people are unsure about where to report counterfeit currency and what to do if they recover or are passed forged notes.
Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith yesterday said:
“Criminals are using increasingly sophisticated networks and methods to make counterfeit notes and coins.
“If you have been passed or recover counterfeit currency, this should be reported to your local police force.
“Police are responsible for investigating the matter and they will liaise with National Counterfeit Currency Unit (aka UKNCO) at the National Crime Agency (NCA).
“Action Fraud does not deal with counterfeit currency offences or reports.”
What to do if you receive counterfeit currency
- If the notes have been passed and the suspect is not present, this should be reported via 101, by attending your local police station or online depending on the force area.
- If the suspect is present at the location or still nearby, consideration should be given to contacting the police on 999.
- Counterfeit notes should be retained and provided to the police as evidence, ideally inside a plastic wallet or paper envelope to preserve potential fingerprints.
- If there is CCTV footage of the suspect available, this should be downloaded and provided to the police together with the counterfeit notes or coins.
Please see the links below to websites that contain further information about security features present in bank notes and coins to assist you in determining if the item is counterfeit or genuine:
How to check your bank notes (Bank of England)
Banknote issuers (Scotland and Northern Ireland – how to check your bank notes)
If you have information about persons; making, supplying, passing or possessing counterfeit currency (banknotes and / or coins) please contact your local Police or report the matter anonymously to CrimeStoppers on 0800 555111 or online
ActionFraud is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.
We provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and cyber crime.
The easiest way to report fraud and cyber crime is by using our online reporting tool.Report
Latest News from
HMRC warns students of scams09/09/2021 13:20:00
HMRC is warning university students to be wary of potential scams, especially if they have a part-time job and are new to interacting with the department.
City of London Police’s response to inaccurate coverage of the future of Action Fraud05/08/2021 09:10:00
Recent media coverage has reported that Action Fraud is going to be closed down, misinterpreting the Beating Crime Plan. This has caused alarm to victims of fraud and to staff who work to prevent fraud and protect people from becoming victims of crime.
City of London Police’s response to an article published in The Times about Action Fraud02/08/2021 10:20:00
As we announced earlier this month, City of London Police, as national lead force for fraud, is in the process of procuring a new fraud and cybercrime reporting and analysis service.
Ruff time for animal lovers as scale of pandemic pet fraud unleashed by Action Fraud27/07/2021 13:20:00
Action Fraud is reminding animal lovers to take extra care when buying a pet online, as new figures show more than £2.5 million has been lost to criminals through fake pet adverts.
Watch out for scams related to NHS Test and Trace21/07/2021 13:20:00
New warning about scams related to NHS Test and Trace.
Scam at first sight: Criminals target those looking for love with bogus investment opportunities21/07/2021 09:25:00
Action Fraud is warning romance seekers to be cautious when using dating platforms, as new data reveals criminals have already conned over £15 million out of unsuspecting lovers with bogus investment opportunities.
Warning about scam calls from “matching” mobile phone numbers01/07/2021 12:20:00
New warning from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB)
Beware of ticket fraud as restrictions ease15/06/2021 13:15:00
Action Fraud is warning the public to take extra care when buying tickets for festivals and events online, as figures from the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime reveal almost £1 million has been lost to ticket fraud so far this year.