Central bank of Malta

The total number of counterfeit euro banknotes reported to the Central Bank of Malta reached its lowest ever level in 2020, the Bank revealed on Wednesday.

In a statement published to its website, the Central Bank said that in the second half of 2020, 198 counterfeit euro banknotes were reported to the Central Bank of Malta, bringing the total number of counterfeits withdrawn from circulation for the whole of the year to 480 pieces, which is the lowest number ever registered in Malta.

When compared with the number of genuine euro banknotes in circulation in Malta (slightly above 19.66 million on average for the second half of 2020), the proportion of euro counterfeits remains insignificant.

It is also low (0.09 per cent) as a proportion of the total number of counterfeits seized in the euro area as a whole over the same period, which amounted to 220,000 pieces.

The Bank said, “Of all the fake euro banknotes seized in Malta over the second half of the year, the middle denominations continue to be the most counterfeited. Even if they experienced a slight decrease, the €20 and €50 are still the most targeted denominations and together accounted for 71.2% of all counterfeits withdrawn from circulation.”

It also noted that the share of the €5 and €10 denominations increased. In fact, although only 2.3 per cent of the counterfeit banknotes seized in the euro were €5 notes, in Malta that percentage goes up to 10.1 per cent.

Similarly, €20 banknotes were more commonly reported in Malta, making up 43.9 per cent of all counterfeits seized as compared to 36.3 per cent of those seized in the euro area.

Conversely, the €10, €50 and €100 denomination banknotes were more likely to be seized in the euro area than in Malta, while no counterfeit €500 banknotes were reported locally although they made up €1.2 per cent of the total seized across the euro area.

Notwithstanding the low figures of counterfeits reported locally, the Central Bank of Malta reminds the public to remain alert with regard to the banknotes received in cash transactions as in the past months there was an increase in the number of low quality counterfeits withdrawn from circulation. All are very easy to detect as they have very poor imitations of security features.

• Genuine banknotes can be easily recognised using the simple “FEEL-LOOK-TILT” test, which is described on the Bank’s website.
• The Bank is available to provide any support, including training to any local entities, which may require such assistance.
• Anyone who receives a suspect note should contact either the Police on +356 22942120 or the Central Bank of Malta on +356 25506012/13, or via the Bank’s e-mail address.

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