Scanners main tool to find the scammers
THERE are 686 million genuine $50 notes in circulation around Australia, so how does the Reserve Bank of Australia find the fake ones?
It’s a collaborative effort between banks, cash-in-transit companies (armoured cars), shops, the police and the public to find very small needles in a very large haystack.
The details of how the RBA recovered about $850,000 in fake fifties in the case of Benjamin Gillette-Rothschild cannot be revealed because of a suppression order imposed by the Sydney District Court. When counterfeit money goes into circulation, the RBA has no tracking device that can pinpoint its location.
In most cases it has to wait until the fake notes are reported. The most effective method for large-scale detection is through the banks, which have state-of-the-art technology that detects even the tiniest of irregularities in each note.
The RBA’s counterfeit analysis team will swing into action, looking for patterns to establish if the notes are from one maker or many.
The Australian Federal Police will become involved if there is evidence or suspicion of large-scale production and if there is an organised crime link.
The RBA also keeps a collection of counterfeit and real banknotes that can be lent to the manufacturers of scanning and validation machinery to test if their equipment can tell the difference between real and counterfeit banknotes.
The scanning technology is used in a wide range of devices, including poker machines, ATMs, vending machines and machines used by banks.
The counterfeit notes are kept at the RBA’s Counterfeit Examination Laboratory in Victoria.