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Retailers reminded to train cash handlers on fake note detection

Retailers are being reminded to take the time to train cash handling staff on the fast and easy ways to spot fake banknotes.

“Counterfeit banknotes represent theft from retailers and other everyday Kiwis,” says Graeme Denny, Senior Manager of Cash Services at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Pūtea Matua, “and sometimes scammers take advantage of busy holiday seasons and inexperienced staff.”

“Fake banknotes are rare in New Zealand because they are easily spotted, but the downside is complacency letting fakes slip through.  On the upside, Police do investigate when it happens and have a good record of catching up with criminals trying it on.

“We encourage retailers to take a few moments to train their team on the look-feel-tilt technique which will detect any forgery typically seen in New Zealand, protect their bottom line, and reduce the risk of upset staff or customers being caught up in a scam.

“Passing fake notes or coins is illegal. We encourage cash handlers to turn away people trying to hand over fake cash if doing so doesn’t put anyone's safety at risk.  

“Report all attempts to police and do take down descriptions, vehicle number plates, and keep CCTV footage. If you do end up stuck with a counterfeit then put it in an envelope straight away to preserve evidence.

“New Zealand has a very low rate of counterfeiting due to our multiple security features which can be checked easily.  Not one of our security features has been successfully compromised.

“We have videos, updated posters and other training materials on our website, and we’ll be using social media advertising over the summer season to deliver simple tips,” says Mr Denny.

Top tips

  • Look for intact plastic windows, sharp detailed printing and the see-through puzzle pattern or watermark depending on the generation of the banknote.
  • Feel for the smooth plastic surface, except for the raised printing on larger features, and tear-resistant strength.
  • Tilt the latest generation banknotes to see a spark line roll along the small bird and hologram features reacting in the big window.

More information

How to spot a fake banknote or coin

Resources for detecting counterfeit cash

Sample social media images


Media contact

Peter Northcote | Senior Advisor External Stakeholders - Kaitohutohu Matua Kiriwhaipānga ā-Waho
Money and Cash – Tari Moni Whai Take

Phone: 04 471 3821
Email: [email protected]