Fake banknotes doing the rounds

Concerned residents from Surrey Estate and the surrounding area are falling victim to counterfeiters.

Residents say young men in the area approach unsuspecting, usually older, people and ask help to make change for an offered banknote. When the victim goes to the shops with these notes he is told that his money is counterfeit.

Captain Ian Bennett, spokesperson of Manenberg police, confirms that counterfeiting of goods has become a problem – to the point that South Africa’s manufacturing industry has been affected greatly.

He says anything that is replicated in order to be cheaper is deemed counterfeit. This includes branded clothing, cigarettes, car parts and money.

“Counterfeiting money and bank notes is a serious offence. Yet people seem to get away with it,” Bennett says.

Official banknotes in South Africa are protected during their printing by adding security features which are virtually impossible to fake.

The notes have watermarks, which are designed in the paper itself so that if it is held up to light, one will see a mirror image of the picture printed.

“Even if the banknote is washed, the ink won’t stain the paper. The ink also glows under ultraviolet light,” he adds.

The foil strip through the centre of the note is weaved as part of the paper. If held up against the light it is clearly a continuous strip with the word SARB (South African Reserve Bank) printed on high quality paper.

Banknotes even make a characteristic sound that is different from counterfeit notes.

“Make it a habit of studying the banknote. Do not hesitate to feel the note and do not become embarrassed, it is your money. If the [counterfeit] money is handed to you in a bank insist the manager and the police are called,” concludes Bennett.

Anyone who knows of people reproducing banknotes must report it to the nearest police station or contact Manenberg police on 021 699 9400 or CrimeStop on 0860 010 111.

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