Business, Travel Tips

Euros: beware of forged banknotes

Euros: beware of forged banknotes.


On  May 2nd 2002,   the euro became official currency of the EU and, as a consequence, in Italy, too.

New currency meant citizens had to get acquainted not only with the value of notes and coins, but also with the way they looked and felt, becoming very aware of the issue of forged money. In fact, if at the beginning the phenomenon of counterfeit notes was not particularly common, it is today widespread all over Europe.

The problem is not confined to Italian boundaries, but goes beyond national limits and becomes European: the currency is used within an extensive  area, making “euro trafficking” more profitable than that of our old liras.

Estimates show that, in the last three years, 464.495 euros have been forged in Italy, the most frequently counterfeited banknotes being 50 and 100 euros cuts: euro forgery in Italy stands for 73% of all the European forgery business.

Therefore, if you go to Italy, and in general to Europe, just check banknotes for telltale signs of their authenticity. Here are some useful suggestions which can help you to elude forgers.

The first step is the analysis of the consistency of the banknote. Through your touch, you can understand if the banknote is out of the ordinary. The lucidity of the paper also reveals that the banknote is forged, as authentic euros are made with a more opaque paper.

Next to this general indications, there are other important clues:

-on the original and authentic banknotes, the relief of the main image on the banknote is created with a special ink that gives a thicker depth to the main elements of the euro;

– the watermark allows you to see the original motif and the figure indicating the value of the banknote;

– on the upper corners of the real banknotes you will find the nominal digits printed that perfectly combine in order to form the number against the light;

– if you put the banknote against the light you will see a dark line that crosses the banknote, where there is written the word euro and the nominal value in tiny writing;

– there is a shiny strip that appears moving the banknote and the banknote is of an iridescent color;

euro banknotes and coins

– a hologram appears moving the banknote and it shows the value of the banknote and the image of a window or a portal.

These are only some useful tips if you want to be sure that you are not given a forged banknote. However, if you want to have more information, there are some useful centers fighting against money forgery: the Ufficio centrale del falso monetario, The Money forgery Central office, and the Ufficio centrale antifrode dei mezzi di pagamento, the Central Anti-fraud office for  payment systems.

Everything is coordinated in cooperation with the police, the Italian military police and the Revenue Police.

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