As the festive season kicks in, Waikato retailers are urged to be on high alert for counterfeit notes.
Waikato Police has received seven reports over the last two months about the use of counterfeit notes across the region.
Waikato Police prevention manager Inspector Hywel Jones said five of the reports were made in October and two in November, and they were in Hamilton East, Te Rapa, Frankton, Te Awamutu, Beerescourt, and Paeroa.
Jones said the majority of the forged bank notes received were $50 and $20, with one $10 note.
Retailers targeted included liquor stores, restaurants, service stations, and hardware stores, with one private transaction.
In three instances, staff at a retail premises identified the notes as potentially counterfeit and rejected them, while another case saw a fake note used in a private transaction between two individuals.
“Another report received related to a purchase of nearly $750 from a Te Awamutu store, where $700 of it was reportedly counterfeit.
“Police have strong lines of inquiry into this report, which was received on October 4, and have viewed CCTV and spoken with witnesses,” Jones said.
Counterfeit $50 note received in Northland earlier this year. The top note is fake. Photo / NZ Police
Police senior document examiner Jessica Owen said Police wanted to remind retailers and any cash-handling businesses to train seasonal and new staff on how to detect counterfeit notes.
“There are two styles of bank notes currently in circulation and we know that fake notes are a costly headache for retailers. Checking for the features described will help prevent these losses.”
Security features to look for when handling cash are:
• If the banknote has a bird at the lower left front, tilt the note back and forth. A rolling bar of colour will move up and down the bird as the banknote is tilted. You can also hold it up to a light and see a fern in the centre of the bird.
• The older style of banknote has a small oval window at the front right and holding it up to a light will show a watermark of the Queen to the left of this oval window.
• If you have access to a UV torch or black light, both styles of genuine bank notes have a patch showing the denomination that will glow, located on the front left of the note.
“If anyone presents a counterfeit note, do not accept it and notify Police.
“Manufacturing counterfeit notes, or knowingly passing them on is a serious offence. Possession of forged bank notes can be punishable by up to seven years in prison, or up to 10 for using one.
“If you spot a counterfeit note after accepting it, limit your handling of the note, and contact Police on 105,” Owen said.
The counterfeit notes found in the Waikato were yet to be thoroughly examined and Police were still making enquiries into the reports.
Malisha Kumar is a multimedia journalist based in Hamilton. She joined the Waikato Herald in 2023 after working for Radio 1XX in Whakatāne.
Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you