Counterfeiters in Germany and Europe have benefited from the end of most corona restrictions over the past year. In Germany, the police, retailers and banks withdrew almost 44,150 counterfeit euro banknotes, the Bundesbank announced on Monday. That was 5.2 percent more than in the previous year.
"This is probably due to the fact that the corona restrictions of the two previous years were largely lifted and folk festivals or Christmas markets took place again, where most payments were made in cash," said Burkhard Balz, the member of the Bundesbank board responsible for cash. "Overall, however, the volume of counterfeit money remains very low: In purely mathematical terms, there were only five counterfeit banknotes per 10,000 inhabitants in 2022."
The calculated damage as a result of counterfeit money rose from 1.9 million euros in 2021 to 2.7 million euros. According to the Bundesbank, this was mainly due to the fact that in several cases watches and cars were paid for with counterfeit 100 and 200 euro banknotes. The 20 and 50 euro notes, which together accounted for 69 percent of all counterfeit notes discovered in Germany, are particularly popular with criminals.
Cheap flowers are booming
In Europe as a whole, the number of euro blossoms seized last year rose by 8.4 percent to 376,000. The loss volume increased year-on-year from EUR 17.5 million to EUR 21.5 million.
For some time now, criminals have also been using easily recognizable printed forgeries that are offered on the Internet as play money or film props with the inscription "Movie Money" or "Prop copy". The proportion of such notes in the flowers seized in Germany fell from 22 percent to 17 percent. "The issue has now reached the retail trade, and at the same time the pressure from the law enforcement authorities is increasing. Selling Movie Money can be a criminal offense," explained Balz. Counterfeit money will not be replaced.