Updated: Wed, 06 Mar 2013 10:59:12 GMT | By Damian Clarkson, senior editor, MSN Money
How to spot a fake note or coin

Tips to ensure you never end up with counterfeit cash



Tips to ensure you never end up with counterfeit cash (© Image: Peter Byrne - Press Association)
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  • Tips to ensure you never end up with counterfeit cash (© Image: Peter Byrne - Press Association)
  • One of the hardest parts of a coin to fake is its edge (© Image: Microsoft)
  • The designs on the heads and tails of a coin should be in the middle (© Image: Press Association)
  • Only one company knows how to make the paper used in the UK's banknotes (© Image: Microsoft)
  • Some parts of every banknote in circulation have raised printing (© Image: Microsoft)
  • Counterfeit notes have less quality in the fine detail (© Image: Microsoft)
  • Every Bank of England banknote has a metallic thread woven through the paper (© Image: Microsoft)
  • A clear watermark with the Queen's portrait is on every Bank of England banknote (© Image: Microsoft)
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Starting this summer, retailers will be allowed to refill cash machines from the notes in their tills, rather than waiting for a new delivery of banknotes.

While these shops will be required to put anti-counterfeit measures in place, there remains a possibility that fake notes will worm their way into circulation.

So you need to be more vigilant than ever when accepting cash. To help you spot a fake, we reveal the tell-tale signs of fake currency.

74Comments
15/12/2011 16:37
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although its illegal to pass on a dodgy  bank note i think its worth considering the outcome of what and if. if you take £10 note to a bank and ask them if its a fake they will take that note off you and say yes your not aloud it back, "next customer please", now your £10 out of pocket. what if you pass it on to an unknowing shop keeper and you pay for the goods and walk away with your change. What do you think you would do. i have had 2 ten pound notes given to me by a cash machine to which i went and had one of them looked at it was confiscated and i was £10 out of pocket do you know what i did with the other one. Yes you can probably guess, BUT THIS IS WHY THERE ARE SO MANY FAKE NOTES OUT THERE NONE OF US WANT TO LOSE ANY AMOUNT OF CASH WE SIMPLY CAN NOT AFFORD TO. 
15/12/2011 22:25
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I am not well off and if I received a dodgy note I would not hesitate to spend it. As long as someone accepts it, it is worth what it says on the note. The forger has the stolen funds from his work. I have my 310 from a piece of paper that I received in good faith. Sorry if someone else further down the line loses out, but I am not going to lose because I cant afford to. Perhaps genuine people should be reimbursed by the government simply because they turned in a dodgy note and removed it from circulation.
15/12/2011 19:48
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Moneys fake anyway...Paper thats backed by nothing except our fake society
15/12/2011 23:50
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william     i am glad you have no problems with scottish notes and glad you would not give business to any who refused a scottish note

 

on the subject of forgeries-----i really beleive that most people who end up with them in their wallets are people who cant afford to lose that money---so there should be some system where decent honest hard working people who end up with a forged note should be compensated

 

WHERE are the fakes coming from      someone suggested india---well that does not surprise me as it seems most scams--- e mail  telephone  etc seem to originate in india---but lets be honest--they have guys working from locations here in the uk---- it is time the government and related departments really crack down on these scammers

 

WOULD I PASS ON A KNOWN FORGED NOTE----- yes in all honesty if i did not know where i got it from yes i would--- I cant afford to lose the money

14/03/2012 19:04
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I got a fake £20 from my bank before not out the machine from the bank itself when I said to her this looks fake she said you probly swapped it. they did ring the police after I did argue for about 30 minutes about checking the CCTV which they said was turned off....in the end they did find out it wasnt me as I asked for £100 and only had £80 with the faked note...

when we pass notes the shops always hold it too the light why dont we when we get our change? I do now always check notes and coins...

15/12/2011 18:39
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it's got to be Camaroon and that bank of england mob .. they have their fingers in every scam in the book.
15/12/2011 15:33
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Diddy Luvva - actually the article is about British coin and notes, not English. The coins and notes spoken of are the legal currency throughout the British Isles. We do see the occasional Scottish bank note in Lancashire, being so close to the border, but we don't refuse it so why are you making such a fuss over nothing much? England deserves better too.
15/12/2011 18:52
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Is printing fake money quantative easing?
14/03/2012 18:40
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What happens if you unknowingly are in receipt of a coin or note and try to spend it, probably the police or bank will prosecute you for being in possession. Lets face it who checks all the notes or coins in their wallet or pocket. 
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You know that you can get those 'coins' for putting in shopping trolleys so that you can release it and then get it back when you have finished with it? Well I have one or should I say had, as I have a sneaking suspicion that I have accidentally given it to a shop when paying for something all in £1 coins. If so, then to whichever shop I have done this, I am most terribly sorry. However, to quote a sign put up in many shops "Please examine your change as mistakes cannot be rectified afterwards" works both ways. Just use it for the next time you're at the supermarket with my compliments.
15/12/2011 15:38
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Oh please take a pill Mr Scotsman! The currency detailed covers the whole of the union and as this is MSN UK maybe this is why it chose a currency that would be pertinent to all readers!! Scottish currency though used occasionally in stores in England, Wales and Northern Ireland isn't actually legal tender in those countries and it is up to the recipient store as to whether or not they accept it. Maybe when Mr Salmond gets his way and all things Scottish stay north of the border, you can read a Scottish version of this again on MSN Scotland and it will cover only the Scottish pound and it's various notes! Though once you're no longer getting massively subsidised by Westminster what your currency will be worth is another matter! 
15/12/2011 16:05
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This article was supposed to be about fake coins and notes, which someone can be prosecuted

 for unknowing handling.  Are there ONLY SNP members online today.

 

15/12/2011 18:31
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I've read a few peoples opinion on this subject, Its nothing to do with Mr salmon the bulk of sensible Scots cant stand the man. It hurts when we get ripped off with fake notes, banks should not be dishing them out at all. Money is tight and wont get any easier as there is not enough jobs for everyone so although its wrong to pass on the forgery many will need to, it doesn't mean there dishonest they just need to survive. I'm Scottish and run a business the only forgeries I've had are Bank of England notes. Police say there made in Pakistan.
14/03/2012 20:10
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Here in scotland there are loads of fake pound coins. I try to bite on them as they say the fakes are a softer metal. On doing this  i have now lost all my top teeth and can't afford a top denture due to being ripped off with fake coins...Does any one know where they sell second hand dentures? Baring teeth

14/03/2012 19:56
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i drew £100 pounds out of a cash machine at the halifax ,and went to fill up my tank at the garage and they would not accept the money because it was counterfiet,i went back to the halifax and they changed it and replaced my money// and thats a bank
14/03/2012 17:32
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HAHHAH, what you on about, they are all fake, even those who print the stuff at the Rothchilds bank of England. Its fiat money, created out of thinair !!!
16/12/2011 12:59
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Maybe we should all go back on the gold standard.

 

15/12/2011 22:54
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there are a lot of fake notes, not just english version of the pound, but of all 4 members of the union versions of the pound! scammed by crooks and anyone in britain could land up with a fake, note or coins,  i have seen english, scot, welsh and north ireland notes and all of them have been targeted by the scammers, so all need to watch out for them, if you know where you got the note or coin take it back to the shop where you got it, i landed up with a fake and i taken it back to the shop that give me it, and they give me the right note in a refund! but it is a pain when you find yourself with one. no matter where you are in britain.
15/12/2011 15:09
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"Decorative swirls under the Queen's portrait spell out the value of the note in alternating letters and numerals. These are impossible to decipher with the naked eye, so a magnifying glass is needed. The swirls of text on the £10 note are shown above."

Incorrect - I can read the smallest print on all of the notes. But that wasn't the point being made, obviously.
15/12/2011 18:59
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If I meet a beggar in the street ican say sorry mate I have no money
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