Fake Chinese money a kick in the guts for pensioner
A BUNDABERG pensioner says she feels like she's been kicked in the guts after receiving a fake $20 note.
After an attempt was made to spend the note at a grocery store, Bernice Kerridge says it was revealed the note wasn't real and they couldn't do anything with it.
"To lose $20 is quite a whack," Mrs Kerridge said.
She then realised the note had two distinctive features - black lines across one corner and some blue Chinese writing which had been partially rubbed away.
In English, part of the Chinese lettering on the notes roughly translates to: "for instruction only, do not circulate".
"They look to be genuine but they have no number," Mrs Kerridge said.
"I just think the general public needs to be aware."
Mrs Kerridge said as a pensioner she was a victim because the realisation left her $20 out of pocket.
To add insult to injury, the notes are widely available online as "training money" and 100 notes of any denomination sell for just $4.39, with recent information showing one long-time seller had shipped off more than 700 clusters of the "play money" so far.
A local shopkeeper told the NewsMail he had received the fake notes but so far only one had slipped through unnoticed.
"There are a number of them around and police have been notified," he said.
Not long after the NewsMail published the story, another businessman said an attempt had been made to use one of the notes at a local service station.
A spokesman for the Bundaberg police Criminal Investigation Branch said there had been no reported instances of repetitive use of fake notes across Bundaberg, but one case had been brought to the attention of police.
"If anybody does locate any counterfeit notes, contact police immediately," he said.
The spokesman said if shopkeepers noticed fake notes during a transaction they should deny the purchase and contact police.
The Reserve Bank of Australia said while it couldn't comment on individual cases, it was illegal to carry a bank note "that is capable of misleading someone into believing that it is a genuine bank note".
The RBA allows reproductions, however, strict rules need to be followed and anyone reproducing notes for educational or creative purposes should seek their own legal advice.
Physical reproductions are required to be smaller or larger than a standard bank note and must be printed on only one side.
The spokesman said that while counterfeiting money was a relatively small-scale crime in Australia, levels had been rising and the creation of new bank notes was aimed at curbing the crime.
"The Reserve Bank is issuing a new series of bank notes with upgraded security features to ensure bank notes remain secure against counterfeiting," he said.
The new $5 bank note was issued in September 2016, and the new $10 was issued on 20 September 2017.
The new $50 is expected to be issued in October 2018, followed by the $20 and $100 in subsequent years.