Counterfeit Currency News

News and statistics about counterfeit currency. For key statistics and information, visit the main Counterfeit Money and Notes page.

In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, agents with the Secret Service in the United States seized $88.7 Million in counterfeit dollars within the U.S. Nearly 60 percent of the fake dollar bills seized were made by using inkjet or laser printers.

Overseas, Secret Service agents seized $68.2 Million in counterfeit dollars during the fiscal year. Most of the fakes seized outside of the United States were made by offset presses. and in more professional “counterfeiting mills”.

Security agents in the Untied States arrested 3,617 people for counterfeiting in the fiscal year.

(More on counterfeit money.)

Source:  Del Quentin Wilber, “Woman With Printer Shows the Digital Ease of Bogus Cash,” Bloomberg, May 8, 2014.

According to financial regulators and security officers, since the introduction of the Euro in January 1, 2002, there have been over 6 million counterfeit euros and fake banknotes that have been removed from circulation. Intelligence officers estimate that over half of these fake notes were produced in the Italian town of Giugliano.

(More crime in Italy statistics.)

The European Central Bank reported 670,000 counterfeit banknotes were found to be in the money circulation and removed in 2013. The amount of counterfeit money detected represented an annual increase of mover 26 percent.

Criminal justice agencies across the European Union state that the makers of counterfeit notes sells batches in bulk to wholesale distributors for 10 percent of the value of the bill. Thus, if a counterfeit money producer sells a batch of fake bills that have a face value of 500,000 euros, then the producer will receive 50,000 genuine euros for the fakes.

The wholesaler who bought the fakes will the pay money mules to spend the money and get it into the financial system. When paying the mules, the wholesaler also charges 10 percent. The mules prefer to spend the fake bills in locations where there are a lot of people that have many cash transactions. Popular venues to pass the fake notes include Champions League football matches and at Oktoberfest.

(See how Peru’s counterfeiters make counterfeit dollars.)

Source:  Philip Johnson, “The Town That Prints Money: Europe’s Counterfeit Capital,” Newsweek, April 28, 2014.

In 2013, authorities in the Czech Republic seized 2,045 counterfeit korunas within the country, down from the 3,586 counterfeit Czech banknotes seized in 2012.

In addition to the fake koruna, Czech financial investigators removed 1,085 counterfeit money and banknotes from foreign countries in 2013.

Below is the number of counterfeit koruna and altered coins that were removed from circulation between 2008 and 2013, according to data released by the Czech National Bank.

Year:     No. of counterfeits.

2008:     4,612

2009:     6,955

2010:     6,529

2011:     6,002

2012:     4,514

2013:     3,130

(How criminals make counterfeit money.)

Source:  “Number of fake banknotes, coins falls to 3,130 in 2013,” Prague Daily Monitor, March 6, 2014.


The central bank in South Korea removed 3,585 counterfeit banknotes from circulation in 2013. In 2012, a total of 8,627 fake bills were removed from circulation.

The number of fake 50,000 won note that was removed declined by 74 percent to 84 bills in 2013. The number of counterfeit 10,000 won notes removed declined by 76 percent to 909 fake bills.

According to the Bank of Korea, the number of counterfeit money per 1 million banknotes in South Korea was 0.2. In comparison, Japan has a rate of 0.2 counterfeit banknotes per 1 million, while Australia has 10.2, Canada has 28, and Mexico has 33.7 fakes per million.

(How criminals make counterfeit money.)

Source:  Yonhap News Agency, “Fake bills fall 58.4 pct in 2013,” Global Post, February 23, 2014.

The European Central Bank stated that 353,000 counterfeit euro bills were removed from circulation in the second half of 2013. The number of fake euros removed was 11.4 percent higher than the amount removed from circulation in the first half of 2013.

There are a total of 15 billion euro banknotes in circulation.

(All counterfeit money statistics.)

Source:  “Euro banknotes will remain paper, not plastic,” Reuters, January 13, 2014.

Data released by the Bank of England stated that 719,000 counterfeit banknotes were discovered and removed from circulation in 2012.

In total, there are nearly 3 billion banknotes in circulation in the United Kingdom.

(How criminals in Peru make counterfeit money with Microsoft Office.)

Source:  Penny Anderson and Jill Papworth, “How to spot a fake banknote,” Guardian, October 18, 2013.

Data from the National Police Agency in South Korea showed that there were 8,202 cases involving the counterfeiting of money in the country. The number of cases investigated by security agencies was a 225 percent increase from the 3,644 cases investigated in 2008.

The number of people arrested for counterfeiting banknotes in South Korea also increased during this time period. In 2008, police arrested 182 people for counterfeiting money crimes. In 2012, there were 265 suspects apprehended, a 145 percent increase.

Security experts state that the increase is caused to the economic slump that leads people to use high quality printers and scanners in an attempt to counterfeit money.

Source:  Yonhap, “Counterfeiting of banknotes more than double in 4 years,” GlobalPost, September 21, 2013.

A security investigator working in Peru explained to the Associated Press the process of making fake money that made Peru the number one producer of counterfeit US dollars.

In order to make counterfeit money, the counterfeiters use off the shelf software such as Corel Draw or Microsoft Office to design the dollar bill.  Using a process called photolithography and the etching of metal plates, the bills are offset printed onto bond paper.

The sheets of fake money are then lightly coated with a varnish and then individually hand cut. The security strip of the bill, which can be seen when a real $100 bill is held up to a light, is inserted into the fake bill using needles and glued with the use of a medical syringe.

The counterfeit bills then pass through a machine with rollers to give the bill a rough texture. Finally, the fake bills are sanded down with sandpaper.

To create a batch of $300,000 counterfeit notes usually takes about four to five days.

Security officials state that counterfeiters earn a profit of $20,000 for every $100,000 in counterfeit dollars they make, or 20 cents for each fake dollar created.

(Profits and income from illegal jobs.)

Only fake $100 are smuggled into the United States, with fake $10s and $20s bills being smuggled to neighboring Argentina and Venezuela. The bills are smuggled the same way that cocaine is smuggled, through the use of false-bottom suitcases and even rolled up and swallowed.

The United States Secret Service stated that the counterfeit dollars are easily passed into circulation at retail stores.

Source:  Associated Press, “In Peru, U.S. dollar counterfeiting “more profitable than cocaine”,” CBS News, September 5, 2013.

In the first six months of 2013, bank officials in the Netherlands seized 19,400 counterfeit euro banknotes from circulation. The number of fake currency seized in the country was 49 percent higher than the number of fakes discovered during the same time period in 2012.

Across the European Union, a total of 317,000 counterfeit euros were detected in the first six months of 2013, a 26 percent increase from the number of fakes detected in first half of 2012.

(How counterfeiters make fake money.)

Source:  Alexandra Gowling, “Number of counterfeit euro banknotes in the Netherlands increases,” I Am Expat, July 25, 2013.

The Reserve Bank of India reported that up to 69.38 billion counterfeit banknotes were estimated to have been in circulation during 2011-2012.

27.84 billion of the fake currency were 100 Indian Rupees and higher.

Financial regulators in India detected 521,000 counterfeit notes during the time period.

It is estimated that up to $2.2 Trillion worth of rupees could be fake in India’s financial system.

(Counterfeit money statistics.)

Source:  “RBI to compensate banks 25 per cent of losses for reporting fake notes,” Economic Times, June 30, 2013.