Police are warning NSW businesses to look out for counterfeit banknotes after an increase in the number reported during August.
Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, who heads up the state’s Fraud and Cybercrime Squad, said a majority of the notes have been detected in the Sydney metropolitan area, between Newtown and Penrith.
Police initially discovered a large amount illegal notes in the Parramatta Westfield Shopping Centre, but they’ve also been reported as far west as Wagga Wagga.
“During July, we received 41 reports concerning counterfeit banknotes. The number of reports for August was 81,” Katsogiannis said.
Busy retailers who don’t have time to take a good look have fallen victim and they mistake is only picked up when the notes are picked up at the bank’s counting machine.
Police suspect a number of individuals are responsible, rather than a single forger.
Chatswood police station has received reports of an Asian male trading the fake notes, while in Newtown police are looking for another three men.
The notes seized by police have been from a range of denominations, the vast majority are $50 and $100 notes.
The Superindendent also said in earlier August “$1500 was located, dumped at the Barangaroo site”.
While police still are investigating how the counterfeit banknotes are being made, DS Katsogiannis told Business Insider what to look out for.
- Check there isn’t anything suspicious about the plastic spot
- It is printed on a similar plastic paper but is slightly thicker than a normal note
- The image printed on the notes aren’t as clear
- They might tear whereas “legit notes don’t tear” said Katsogiannis
We reached out to the Big Four banks to hear what procedures they have in place to compensate victims, and are still waiting to hear back.
If you suspect someone has given you a fake banknote Katsogiannis says “Try to handle to note as least as possible so it can be used for a forensic investigation. Take a description of the person who gave it to you… and report the incident to your local police station.”
Police are urging anyone with information about counterfeit banknotes to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.