Could you spot a fake £20? Police warn of upsurge in forged bank notes in Swindon

By Ben Fitzgerald - 26 February 2019


Police are investigating a number of incidents involving forged bank notes in the Swindon area and we are urging members of public who use ‘for sale sites’ to be vigilant.

Counterfeit notes were reported to have been used on a number of ‘for sale sites’ when a purchase has been made using cash. 
We urge the public to follow our advice when using these types of sites online:

• When engaging in a sale, always try and get as much information about the other individual as possible. Not all ‘for sale sites’ require membership details and buyers can therefore use private numbers and fake names without having to disclose their home or email address.

• Be very wary of a buyer that states they can come and collect immediately, or someone who is prepared to travel a great distance

• A fraudulent buyer will want to leave quickly and may appear eager to hand over cash or reluctant to negotiate a price

• Always check the money you receive. If it doesn’t feel right then it might be a fake

• Remember to check for detail in the watermark and for a silver strip on both sides of the note

• Check for the sharpness of the notes ink as some counterfeit currency can appear blurred

• Always check serial numbers. We have had fraudulent cases where a large number of banknotes are handed over with the same serial numbers – these are fake

• If suspicious of a buyer, record details of the vehicle they arrived in and make the police aware of this

• If a transaction has gone ahead and you then realise the bank notes are fake, please minimise the handling of the notes and call 101 so they can be recovered for examination.

If you are suspicious of a buyer we urge you to delay the sale and call us on 101. If you feel intimidated then please call us on 999.

Image 1: The genuine £20 note is the top one

Notable differences: 
The top note (real) is sharper and has a clearer Bank of England logo in the bottom left hand corner. 
The bottom note (fake) is heavy in ink and has a blurry Bank of England logo. The Queen’s face is also slightly stretched.

Image 2: The genuine £20 note is the bottom one

Notable differences:
The top notes (fake) watermark of the Queen is not accurate. 
The bottom note (real) has a better quality watermark.

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