Germany: Significantly more counterfeit money in circulation in 2023

January 29, 2024

German Bundesbank has registered 56,600 counterfeit euro banknotes with a face value of 5.1 million euro

The Deutsche Bundesbank (https://bundesbank.de) registered around 56,600 counterfeit euro banknotes with a face value of 5.1 million euros in German payment transactions in 2023. This represents a 28.2 per cent increase in the number of counterfeits compared to the previous year. “The increase is due to a few major cases of fraud, mainly involving counterfeit 200 and 500 euro banknotes,” says Bundesbank Executive Board member Burkhard Balz.

Jewellery, gold bars, watches

Around a dozen fraudulent transactions involving luxury goods such as jewellery, gold bars, watches and cars resulted in the amount of losses caused by counterfeit money in 2023 being 90 per cent higher than in the previous year. “On average, there were seven counterfeit banknotes per 10,000 inhabitants in 2023,” says Balz. The risk for consumers remains low.

At around 29,900, the number of counterfeits in the second half of 2023 was higher than in the first half of the year (26,690), according to the Frankfurt authority. As in previous years, easily recognisable counterfeits with the imprint “MovieMoney” or “Prop copy” on 10 and 20 euro notes accounted for a large proportion of the counterfeit banknotes.

Also 115,900 counterfeit coins

In 2023, around 115,900 counterfeit coins were detected in German payment transactions; in 2022, the figure was still around 73,400. This means that there were 14 counterfeit coins per 10,000 inhabitants in Germany. The main reason for the increase: some companies have been collecting suspected counterfeit coins for years and submitted them to the Bundesbank in 2023. Counterfeit 2-euro coins were also increasingly smuggled in, according to the report.

At around 66,800 pieces, the number of counterfeit coins in the second half of the year was significantly higher than the number of around 49,000 counterfeits registered in the first half of 2023. As counterfeit money cannot be replaced, banknotes in particular should be checked according to the “feel-see-tilt” principle, the Deutsche Bundesbank concludes.

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