The European Central Bank (ECB) announced today that the number of fake euro banknotes seized in the last six months rose by eight per cent from the first half of the year.
“In the second half of 2009 a total of 447,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation,” an ECB statement said.
Though the increase is significant, ECB officials say it is a step up from the first half of 2009, which saw a 17 per cent increase in seized counterfeit notes.
The most frequently forged bills were the euro20, which accounted for 47 per cent of the fakes, and the euro50, which accounted for 39 per cent.
The euro contains many security features that attempt to foil counterfeiters. Specific watermarks, security threads, hologram foil stripes & patches, iridescent stripes, and colour-shifting inks all play their part in deterring the reproduction of fake notes.
Though the ECB’s statement demonstrated concern at the growing ability to produce successful counterfeit euros, the Central Bank also remained steadfast in believing it was a manageable problem.
“When compared to the 12.8 billion genuine banknotes in circulation,” the ECB statement said, “the proportion of counterfeits is still very low.”
Nearly one million counterfeit euros were seized and withdrawn from circulation in 2009.