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Warning after increase in counterfeit notes being used

Police are urging people to be vigilant when selling items on social media sites such as Facebook Marketplace or the Gumtree site following a spate of incidents involving payment with counterfeit currency.


The counterfeit notes being passed are Bank of England polymer £20 notes. (‘plastic’ notes)

Counterfeit polymer £20 notes can be readily identified by first checking the hologram which can be found on the front of the note below the see-through window.


If you tilt the note from side to side you will see words change between ‘Twenty’ and ‘Pounds’. Photo: Leicestershire Police.


Over the past week officers have been made aware of various incidents, in particular in Central Leicester and North Leicestershire, where members of the public have sold electrical items such as computer game systems on Gumtree and been paid with fake notes.


Secondly if you look at the metallic image over the main window, the foil is gold and blue on the front of the note and silver on the back. Photo: Leicestershire Police.


Some of the counterfeit £20 notes recovered in fact have no holographic foil whatsoever.


Nicole McIntyre, from the force’s Volume Fraud team, said: “These incidents show how it is easy to be duped by someone posing as a legitimate buyer who then uses counterfeit currency to defraud you.


“When you receive cash, there are quick checks which we have shown that you can do to ensure the notes aren’t counterfeit.”


If you believe you may have been a victim of a similar or related crime, please contact us on 101, or online at www.leics.police.uk


If you have information about persons passing, supplying or using counterfeit currency you can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


More information about how to check £20 notes in particular can be found on the Bank of England website here https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/20-pound-note or guidance about all bank notes can be found here https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/counterfeit-banknotes/how-to-check-your-banknotes

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