RBNZ to retailers: Train staff to spot fake banknotes

Tips on how to detect fake banknotes revealed

RBNZ to retailers: Train staff to spot fake banknotes

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is reminding retailers to prioritise training new cash handlers in identifying counterfeit banknotes efficiently.

While New Zealand faces a minimal counterfeiting issue with low-quality fake banknotes, Graeme Denny (pictured above), senior manager of cash services at RBNZ, emphasised the importance of training staff, especially during busy holiday seasons.

“New Zealand doesn’t have a huge counterfeiting problem, and the fake banknotes we do see are low-quality and easily detected using the look-feel-tilt method,” Denny said. “But sometimes scammers take advantage of busy holiday seasons and inexperienced staff to try it on.

“Accepting a fake is a hit on the retailer’s bottom-line and upsetting for staff caught out. We encourage retailers to take a few moments to train or remind their team on the simple steps that take no time at all, particularly when taking on new staff.”

Passing counterfeit currency is illegal, and Denny advises cash handlers to refuse fake notes while ensuring everyone’s safety.

“If you do end up stuck with a counterfeit then put it in an envelope straight away to preserve evidence,” he said. “Report all attempts to police and do take down descriptions, vehicle number plates, and keep CCTV footage. The police take counterfeiting seriously and have made several arrests this year.”

In a media release, RBNZ said New Zealand maintains a low counterfeiting rate due to robust security features, none of which have been successfully compromised.

“We have videos, updated posters and other training materials on our website, and we’ll be using social media advertising over the summer season including video tips,” Denny said.

How to detect fake banknotes

RBNZ reveals some top tips on how to spot fake banknotes:

  • Look: Check for intact plastic windows, sharp detailed printing, and see-through puzzle patterns or watermarks depending on the banknote's generation
  • Feel: Verify the smooth plastic surface, except for raised printing on larger features, and ensure tear-resistant strength
  • Tilt: Tilt the latest generation banknotes to observe a spark line rolling along small bird and hologram features, reacting in the significant window

For other recent news from RBNZ, click here and here.

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