Frankfurt am Main (dpa) – A blow to a large counterfeiting workshop, improved security features and restrictions on the crown made it difficult for counterfeiters to operate in the first half of 2022. Police, retailers and banks withdrew 19,789 counterfeit euro notes, the Bundesbank reported on Friday. It’s about 3.9 percent. less than in the second half of 2021 and the lowest since the second half of 2013 with 19,350 flowers at that time. “The trend of counterfeiting money has been declining since 2016,” said Johannes Beermann, board member of the Bundesbank in Frankfurt.
“This is due to the high-quality security features of the banknotes and the Bundesbank’s information and training campaigns, but also to the good cooperation with law enforcement,” explained Beermann. For example, in July 2021, officials raided a large counterfeit workshop in Cologne. According to the information, they secured 600 ready-made flowers for 20 euros and material for over 10,000 other fakes. Following the strike against criminals, the number of € 20 flowers in Germany dropped significantly by 16.4 percent in the first six months of 2022 compared to the second half of 2021.
However, the financial damage caused by counterfeit euro banknotes increased in the first half of this year, contrary to a long-term trend compared to the second half of 2021, by around 11 percent to € 991,690. This was mainly due to the withdrawal from circulation of larger denominations, such as counterfeit hundreds and two hundred. However, the most popular among criminals are still the 20 and 50 euro banknotes, which together account for 77% of the total. counterfeits.
Popular “movie money”
The likelihood of a flower being included is very small. According to the Bundesbank, in the first half of the year, there were five counterfeit banknotes per 10,000 inhabitants of Germany. Across Europe, there were ten counterfeit products per 10,000 inhabitants.
For some time now, criminals have increasingly used counterfeit banknotes that are offered on the Internet as virtual money or film props under the names “Movie Money” or “Prop”. The share of “Film Money” in flowers confiscated in Germany slightly decreased in the first half of the year. At a good 20 percent, it’s still high. “Just by looking at these bills you can tell that they are fake,” emphasized Beermann. The obverse of such a banknote reads “Film money”, and on the reverse, “Prop”.
According to Beermann, how lifting the krone restrictions this spring will impact the development of counterfeit money is likely to become clear in the second half of 2022. Due to the limitations of the pandemic, criminals have found it more difficult to sell their imitations, for example at Christmas markets or folklore festivals, where you usually pay with banknotes and coins.
The downward trend continues
According to the latest data from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the number of crimes related to counterfeiting money continues to decline during the crown pandemic in Germany. Last year, the authority counted 38,234 offenses related to counterfeiting money. That’s 16.7 percent. less than a year earlier. BKA reported that the downward trend that has been going on for years is continuing. As of 2020, counterfeit coin cases are no longer included in these general statistics. According to police estimates, more than half of the counterfeit money found in Germany is currently being sold online, for example via encrypted messaging or on the Darknet.
Thanks to new safeguards, the euro’s keepers have made the single currency more resistant to counterfeiting in recent years. The next step has already been taken: the European Central Bank (ECB) wants to fine-tune the design of the next generation of the euro in a multi-stage process. The central bank wants to comprehensively involve people in the currency area, and in 2024 the Governing Council of the ECB should then decide on the production of new banknotes and when they can be given to the public. Beermann described citizen participation as “a peace project of great symbolic power in which citizens can identify with banknotes.”
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220722-99-117300 / 2