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Counterfeit money

How to spot the fake - and what to do if any slips through

Customer fraud is an issue that all retailers must remain alert to at all times. The use of counterfeit currency is one aspect of a crime that also includes the use of false or stolen credit and debit cards, fraudulent cheques, as well as stolen goods being returned to shops by thieves seeking refunds.

Quote�Because you accepted the forged money, there is no compensation available to you.�End Quote

It is crucial to be aware of all tactics employed by fraudsters - the potential cost to your business could be significant. When it comes to counterfeit money, forged bank notes tend to be of larger denominations (�20 and �50), so if a criminal is successful in your shop, this will be costly for you.

If you find counterfeit money in your till, unfortunately there is nothing you can do to recoup that loss. Because you accepted the forged money, there is no compensation available to you.

You must report the matter to the police, and ideally you should speak to your local crime prevention officer, who will be able to give you advice about preventing further instances of fraud. You might be one of several victims in your area. Your information, together with the forged bank notes, could help the police to catch the criminals.

To avoid reaching this point, use preventative measures and ensure that all your customer-facing staff follow a few basic steps when accepting bank notes from customers.

Low quality

Quote�Make bank note checking obvious to the customer - particularly if you are suspicious.�End Quote

Some forgeries are of low quality and are relatively easy to spot if you are paying attention. Check all notes for watermarks and vertical silver-foil strips. Pay special attention to notes that feel like they are made of poor quality or thin paper, or those which show an obvious colour variation.

Make bank note checking obvious to the customer - particularly if you are suspicious. Hold the note up to the light and ask a colleague for their opinion. Most fraudsters will leave swiftly if they fear being caught, but don't take any risks. Accept the money rather than cause a potentially dangerous fuss if you feel at all threatened.

Also bear in mind that a customer might not be aware that they are trying to pay with a forged bank note. If you are suspicious about bank notes - whether you have accepted them or not - always report such incidents to the police.

Make sure your staff (as part of their training) are aware of the issue of counterfeit money and how to guard against it entering your business. You would do well to note that currently, debit and credit card fraud is a bigger and more rapidly increasing problem than counterfeit banknotes.

It is worth implementing a policy that trains staff on all types of customer fraud. Contact your local crime prevention officer for advice.

What next?

It's often your staff who are on the front line checking for forgeries. Make sure they get the training they need.

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