After a seizure totaling nearly half a million dollars worth of fake banknotes this week, the Australian police are telling people to pay closer attention to their cash.
“The notes are a very high quality,” Australian Federal Police (AFP) commander David Steward told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I do want to just encourage people to take care when they’re using ATMs particularly and they’re coming across $50 notes.”
The fake bills were being produced on three large commercial printing machines, which the AFP also seized in the raid. The most predominate bill in production on these machines was the $50 bill.
Currently, the Australian $50 bill has an abundance of security features to help prevent counterfeiting, including:
- A clear window has a stylised version of the Southern Cross printed in it, along with embossing of the number ’50′ (both can be seen from either side of the banknote);
- When the banknote is held to the light, a seven pointed star within a circle is formed by four points on one side of the banknote combining perfectly with three points on the other side.
- When the banknote is held to the light also, an image of the Australian Coat of Arms can be seen under other printing;
- The words ‘FIFTY DOLLARS’ are microprinted and can be seen with the aid of a magnifying glass;
- Slightly raised printing that can be felt with the fingers is used for the portraits and other major design elements;
- Intricate multi-coloured fine-line patterns and images appear on each side.
- The serial number of each banknote is printed twice, one in blue and one in black, on the back of the banknote. A different font is used for each serial number. The alpha prefix of two letters is followed by two numerals representing the year of the production, followed by a further six numerals. Under ultra-violet light, the serial numbers fluoresce;
- Under ultra-violet light, a patch showing the number ’50′ becomes visible on the back of the banknote.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) says one sure fire way to detect the recent influx of fake $50 notes is to check the southern cross on the translucent window. Unlike an authentic $50 bill, the cross can be scratched with your fingernails. The fake notes are also softer and lighter than the real ones.