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Counterfeit Banknotes in Circulation: How to Identify Them and What to Do

Feb 15, 2023 |

NFSP Communications Team

During a recent visit to the Glasgow cash centre, some forged Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) £20 notes were presented that were so convincing that note counters had difficulty detecting them. 

Moreover, forged Bank of England notes are circulating and not being detected by some PO-supplied Cennox machines. The issue has been reported to Post Office Ltd and affected Postmasters should look for them to write off any discrepancies.  

To help individuals identify counterfeit RBS notes, there are specific features to look for in a forged £20 note: 

  • The RBS logo is not reflective. 
  • The white border at the top and bottom differs in thickness. 
  • When the note is tilted, there is a box around the serial number. 
  • When rubbed, the top squirrel feels rough. 
  • The red building on the front is darker. 
  • Kate Cranston's hair is slightly darker. 
  • Kate Cranston's right eye is lighter in colour. 
  • On the genuine £20 note, the Kate Cranston side feels textured, while on the counterfeit, it feels smooth.

Please be vigilant when any customer not known to the branch deposits RBS neat, clean new £20 notes.  

It is also important to update and clean note counters regularly to prevent falling victim to these fraudulent notes. Unfortunately, three colleagues in the Glasgow area were victims of around £3000 worth of fraudulent notes but were supported by the NFSP to ensure they were not held accountable. 

Visit the Know Your Scottish Banknotes website for valuable information and resources to help recognize counterfeit notes and take appropriate action. The Bank of England website also has guidance on how to check for counterfeit banknotes and a list of serial numbers of forged notes. Please note that the list is not definitive, and other serial numbers are possible. Post Office Ltd Security have also provided a poster to help identify forged RBS notes. 

If you receive any counterfeit notes, report them immediately to the authorities to protect yourself and others from financial fraud. 

Should Post Office Ltd try to hold you accountable for inadvertently processing forged notes, be sure to contact the NFSP without delay.