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German Police: Counterfeit Euros Running Wild In Germany

Counterfeit money crimes rose by 42 percent in Germany last year, according to a new federal report. Authorities have attributed the spike in crime to better quality fakes and online sellers.

Fake Euro notes and counterfeit money crimes both rose dramatically in 2015, according to a report released Monday by Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Agency(BKA).

Last year 86,500 cases were registered by authorities, easily doubling data from 2011 and marking a 42 percent increase from 2014’s number of reported cases. All together 112,000 fake bills were removed from circulation in Germany, totaling a normal value of 5.5 million Euros, or $6.37 million USD. This marks a 48 percent increase from the previous year.


Although the 20 Euro note is the most popular bill to fake in the European Union, in Germany the false 50 comprised exactly half of the confiscated counterfeit Euros, with the 20 Euro note coming it at 37 percent. The BKA reported some good news as well. There were fewer faked Euro denomination coins discovered in 2015. Totaling a 25 percent decrease.

According to the report, the stark rise in counterfeit Euros is due to underground markets on the Deep Web. Not only are the fake bills for sale, but materials for making your own copies as well as instructions, and security features. The counterfeiters were also able to mimic more security features, like micro printing and tactile features, which improve the quality of the fakes and make them harder for people to spot.


The BKA noted that most of the high quality fakes were produced in eastern and southern Europe, “mainly from Italy.” Since most of the notes in 2015 were uncovered at banks and cash in transit firms, the BKA concluded that the majority of individual users of cash do not recognize the fakes; especially since most everyday payments do not involve a detailed examination of the cash.

Despite improved counterfeit quality, authorities maintained in the report that the majority of counterfeit banknotes can be detected without the use of technical aids.

Data released in 2015 showed that the average German citizen would have to live for 800 years to come into contact with one single faked bill. The German Central Bank, Bundesbank released a report saying that about 50,500 fake banknotes with a total value of 2.2 million Euros had been registered in the first half of 2015.

The European Central Bank, ECB, said that worldwide 454,000 counterfeit notes had been withdrawn from circulation in the first 6 months of 2015. Bundesbank examines around 15 billion banknotes each year, searching for counterfeits. Statistically given the number of counterfeit notes they find means there are about 12 fake notes in circulation per every 10,000 residents in Germany.


The key measure against these counterfeit notes has been the introduction of new banknotes that are more difficult to counterfeit. A second series that replaces the banknotes, the Eurozone, has been used since 2000. Redesigned 5 and 10 Euro banknotes are already in circulation. A new 20 Euro banknote started coming off the presses last November.

“The 20 and 50 Euro banknotes of the first series were counterfeited particularly often,” the report said.

The data shows that 41 percent of all counterfeit notes wee 20 Euro notes, and 48 percent were 50 Euro notes. The number of counterfeit coins in contrast has declined sharply. In the first half of 2015, about 14,500 fake coins were found. In the second half of 2014 about 26,000 had been found.

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