Watch out for these $20 notes
NSW Police have urged Australians to be on the lookout for fake $20 notes that may be in circulation.
Police from the Northern Rivers area near the Queensland border are investigating after an elderly person unknowingly used a counterfeit $20 note to pay for some hay.
The notes are supposed to be used to train Chinese bank tellers but have "made their way to the Northern Rivers where people are using them illegally", the Richmond Police District said on Facebook.
"Police attached to Richmond Police District are investigating an incident where a $20 training note was used to pay for an item from a Facebook advisement," the post said. "An elderly person paid for some hay and was unaware they had the training note amongst other $20 notes in their possession."
Police are warning people to look for the notes, which are marked with Chinese characters that reportedly translate as "training money".
"This could be a one-off incident however it's a timely reminder for people to be vigilant when dealing with large amounts of money making sure there are no counterfeit or fake notes being circulated," police said.
It comes as the Reserve Bank attempts to raise awareness of counterfeiting, saying it detects tens of thousands of forged notes every year.
People who get stuck with a counterfeit banknote don't get compensated for handing it in and could be charged with a crime if they try to spend it.
Redesigned $5, $10 and $50 banknotes, intended to be more difficult to forge, were introduced in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The new $20 note enters circulation in October.
The RBA skipped the $20 and went straight to the $50 in part because the $50 is more popular with counterfeiters.
HOW TO SPOT A FAKE
1. Is it plastic? Australian banknotes are printed on plastic and have a distinct feel. A suspect banknote may feel excessively thick or thin compared to a genuine banknote. It is difficult to start a tear along the edge of a genuine banknote. You can also try scrunching the banknote in your hand - a genuine banknote should spring back.
2. Look for the Coat of Arms. If you hold the banknote to the light, you should see the Australian Coat of Arms.
3. Look for the star. Diamond-shaped patterns are printed inside a circle on both sides of the banknote. If you hold the banknote up to the light, the patterns should line up perfectly to form a seven-pointed star.
4. Check the clear window. The clear window should be an integral part of the banknote and not an addition. Check that the white image printed on the window cannot be easily rubbed off. Also look for the embossing - there is a wave pattern in the window of the $10 banknote, and the value of the banknote in the windows of $20, $50 and $100 banknotes.
Source: Queensland Police