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Businesses warned to be wary of counterfeit cash

December 07, 2016

UPDATE: In the last 24 hours, the National Retail Association has heard from members right across Australia, not just Queensland, with sightings of counterfeit $50 and $100 notes in Victoria and New South Wales. We urge all retailers to inform your staff, read our tips below, and to inform your local police or Crimestoppers should you suspect anything.


Businesses are being asked to be aware of a recent increase in counterfeit notes circulating in South East Queensland, including Moreton District.

Offenders are targeting businesses, mainly fast food outlets and service stations during busy times and paying for a small purchase with a fake fifty dollar note.

Police have launched operation Oscar Commit and have a team of detectives and uniform police are currently investigating the matter.

As part of the operation police have charged a 43-year-old Kallangur man with two counts of possessing counterfeit money, uttering counterfeit money and possession of a dangerous drug. He was arrested on November 23 after allegedly been found with 290 counterfeit $50 notes. He is expected to appear at the Caboolture Magistrates Court on January 19.

Detective Senior Sergeant Anthony Green from Moreton Criminal Investigation Branch said: “Obviously this is a busy time of the year and it is easy to become a target which is unfortunate for what often is a small family business.”

“We are aware people can inadvertently receive these notes in change. Check $50 notes and if you think you have been given a fake $50 note, report it to police.

“Information from the public is crucial to this investigation and I urge anyone who has further information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000,” he said.

Troy Wild, Principal Lawyer of NRA Legal, expressed concern for retailers as there is no legal restitution for counterfeit cash.

“It is worrying as the legal burden rests solely with the retailer to check that the cash they receive is legitimate,” said Wild.

“It is especially difficult at this time of year when staff are busy and more accustomed to receiving large wads of cash with Christmas purchases.”


Troy Wild, National Retail Association  Credit: Channel Ten News

Hear more on the story via the Channel Ten news coverage here>>

5 Tips to spot counterfeit notes:

  1. Is it plastic: You can scrunch the banknote in your hand and a genuine banknote should spring back.
  2. Look for the Coat of Arms: If you hold the banknote to the light, you should see the Australian Coat of Arms.
  3. Look for the star: Diamond-shaped patterns are printed inside a circle on both sides of the banknote. If you hold the banknote up to the light, the patterns should line up perfectly to form a seven-pointed star.
  4. Check the clear window: It should be an integral part of the banknote not an addition.
  5. Check the print can’t be rubbed off.

More information on detecting counterfeit notes can be viewed on the Reserve Bank of Australia website: http://banknotes.rba.gov.au/assets/pdf/counterfeit-detection-guide.pdf.

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