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Reserve Bank reminds retailers to train new cash handlers on fake note detection

Friday 8th December 2023

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“New Zealand doesn’t have a huge counterfeiting problem, and the fake banknotes we do see are low quality and easily detected using the look-feel-tilt method,” says Graeme Denny, Senior Manager of Cash Services at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te PÅ«tea Matua, “but sometimes scammers take advantage of busy holiday seasons and inexperienced staff to try it on.”


“Accepting a fake is a hit on the retailer’s bottom-line and upsetting for staff caught out. We encourage retailers to take a few moments to train or remind their team on the simple steps that take no time at all, particularly when taking on new staff.


“Passing fake notes or coins is illegal. We encourage cash handlers to turn away people trying to hand over fake cash if doing so doesn’t put anyone’s safety at risk.  If you do end up stuck with a counterfeit then put it in an envelope straight away to preserve evidence.  


“Report all attempts to police and do take down descriptions, vehicle number plates, and keep CCTV footage. The police take counterfeiting seriously and have made several arrests this year.


“New Zealand has a very low rate of counterfeiting due to our multiple security features which can be checked easily.  Not one of our security features has been successfully compromised.


“We have videos, updated posters and other training materials on our website, and we’ll be using social media advertising over the summer season including video tips,” says Mr Denny.


 Top tips

Look for intact plastic windows, sharp detailed printing and the see-through puzzle pattern or watermark depending on the generation of the banknote.

Feel for the smooth plastic surface, except for the raised printing on larger features, and tear-resistant strength.

Tilt the latest generation banknotes to see a spark line roll along the small bird and hologram features reacting in the big window.


More information

How to spot a fake banknote

Resources for detecting counterfeit cash

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