The federal German Bank, the Bundesbank, announced that 33,700 forged banknotes were found in Germany in the first term of 2010. That’s a 20% increase over last year and represents a $2.5 million loss for the country.
One of the reasons for this increase of forged notes could be a new distribution network for counterfeited money in the Baltic states. Most fake notes are produced in the South of Europe, then get transported to these networks. “They only spend a few days in Germany to start circulating the money around,” said Rainer Elm, the head of the forged money department of the Bundesbank, to the Zeit. Apparently things have been easier for forgers since the introduction of the euro in 2002.
But the Bundesbank also says Germany, with about 8 forgeries for 10,000 inhabitants, is still below the European level of forged money which is about 23 forgeries for 10,000 inhabitants.
The 50-euro-note is the most counterfeited one, representing 42.5 per cent of all forged banknotes found in Europe, according to the European Central Bank, as The Tagesspiegel reports. “The most likely way to get in touch with forged money is within the retail industry,” said Helmut Rittgen, the head of the central cash department at the Bundesbank in a statement.
So vigilance is the key here. And it’s painfully needed, as the forged money is surprisingly not always professional. An old woman used a 300-euro-note with two naked women printed on its front in a bakery, describes the magazine Die Zeit. Another woman tried to get a refund for a 50-euro note that was printed on toilet paper, publishes the Tagesspiegel.