Wellington awash with fake fifty dollar notes

By Georgina Campbell

Queen Elizabeth's image is absent form the note when it is held up to light. Photo / Supplied
Queen Elizabeth's image is absent form the note when it is held up to light. Photo / Supplied

Police are warning fake $50 notes could still be circulating throughout wider Wellington following the crackdown on a counterfeit scheme.

Earlier this month there were six reports of offenders using fake money to purchase goods before returning them to another store in exchange for legitimate bank notes.

Area Commander Chris Bensemann said police raided a Hutt Valley property following the reports.

He said several printers were seized and three people were arrested and charged with using forged documents.

"This is just an opportunity where the offenders have used high-tech printers and have been able to produce a bank note that gives the appearance of being legitimate."

Bensemann was concerned counterfeit notes from the operation could still be circulating in the wider Wellington region.

He was most concerned about $50 notes.

"It's best not to rely on the feel of the notes. Real notes are made out of polymer and can't be ripped where as the counterfeit notes that are being presented are made out of paper.

"In essence if you can rip the bank note, then it's definitely counterfeit money."

First Retail managing director Chris Wilkinson said it was challenging for retailers to have fake money on the market.

"They're just doing business and all of a sudden now we have this extra layer of awareness that's required in terms of at the checkout and general transactions."

Wilkinson has championed Wellington's Eyes On network for how retailers have approached the problem.

Eyes On is a network where police and retailers share information about offenders via an email warning alert.

"The specific change to this situation, as opposed to previous situations where there been fake notes circulating, is that they have a network now where they can get among all the retailers," Wilkinson said.

Police urge anyone who thinks they have come across a counterfeit note to not accept it and notify police.

If someone has already accepted a counterfeit note they should put it in an envelope to stop it being handled any further.

- Newstalk ZB

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