Sell­ers urged to be cau­tious as flood of ‘funny money’ hits UK


‘Sell­ers are left with worth­less forged notes’

‘Vis­i­tors from Europe are the main cul­prits’

Deal­ers and pri­vate sell­ers are be­ing urged to be cau­tious af­ter an in­crease in over­seas buy­ers us­ing coun­ter­feit UK cur­rency.

Fake cur­rency is big busi­ness with bil­lions of bank notes cir­cu­lat­ing. In fact, the Bank of Eng­land re­moved over 220,000 imi­ta­tion notes, with a face value of more than £5 mil­lion, in the first half of 2018 alone. Or­gan­ised crim­i­nals have dis­cov­ered new meth­ods of re­pro­duc­ing ban­knotes, with mi­nor crim­i­nals us­ing these fakes to dupe ve­hi­cle sell­ers.

Many of these forg­eries have been used to pur­chase ve­hi­cles in the UK, in­clud­ing clas­sic cars and mo­tor­cy­cles, with sev­eral deal­ers and pri­vate sell­ers be­ing left out of pocket af­ter at­tempt­ing to bank the worth­less notes. Vis­i­tors from abroad pay­ing cash have been the main cul­prits to date as they are quick to re­move their pur­chased ve­hi­cles from the UK be­fore the seller has a chance to bank the coun­ter­feit notes. Sell­ers are par­tic­u­larly be­ing warned of buy­ers from Europe, as some fake Eu­ros have even been known to pass UV tests. Last month Europol staged a se­ries of raids to dis­rupt the dis­tri­bu­tion of coun­ter­feit Euro bank notes.

More than 300 houses were raided in 13 coun­tries, in­clud­ing the UK, re­sult­ing in the de­ten­tion of 235 sus­pects. On this oc­ca­sion 1500 fake Euro notes were seized. In Ger­many and France, coun­ter­feit print shops were dis­cov­ered and, in Aus­tria, the Fed­eral Po­lice found over 10,000 fake €10, €20, and €50 notes had been sold over the so-called Darknet to buy­ers through­out Europe.

With Bul­garia now be­lieved to be one of the most pro­lific coun­ter­feit­ers of Eu­ros, a Europol raid re­cently saw four peo­ple work­ing in a Black Sea ho­tel ar­rested for coun­ter­feit­ing €1,570,000-worth of notes. Fol­low­ing this 30 other lo­ca­tions across Bul­garia were raided and a fur­ther €11.5 mil­lion plus $2 mil­lion were seized.

Be warned. That cash might not be all it seems

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