A total of 279 counterfeit euro notes were discovered in Cyprus and removed from circulation in the second half of last year, a figure lower than that in the corresponding period in 2017, the Central Bank of Cyprus said on Friday.
The €50 banknote had the highest rate of counterfeiting in Cyprus, accounting for 33.3% of the total, it added.
In comparison with the number of genuine euro banknotes in circulation, the quantity of counterfeits remains low.
Notwithstanding the very small number of counterfeits, the Central Bank advised the public to scrutinise banknotes when transacting in cash.
The counterfeit euro banknotes found in Cyprus were just a fraction of the total of 262,000 counterfeit euro banknotes of various denominations withdrawn from circulation by the European Central Bank.
This was down 13% over the corresponding period in 2017, during which 363,000 counterfeit banknotes were withdrawn from circulation, the ECB said.
Most counterfeits (96.7%) were found in euro area countries. The rest were split between EU Member States outside the euro area (2.2%) and other parts of the world (1.1%).
The €50 and €20 denominations exhibited the highest rates of counterfeiting, accounting for 61.8% and 22.7% of the total, respectively.
“The likelihood of receiving a counterfeit is very small indeed as the number of counterfeits remains very low compared with the number of genuine banknotes in circulation, which has risen steadily at rates in excess of GDP growth since they were introduced,” the ECB said.
In 2018 the number and value of euro banknotes in circulation grew by around 4.0% and 3.7%, respectively.
There are now over 22 billion euro banknotes in circulation, with a total value of around €1.2 trillion.
New €100 and €200 banknotes with enhanced security features were unveiled in September 2018. These are the last two denominations of the Europa series and will enter into circulation on May 28, 2019.
The Eurosystem is conducting an information campaign to inform professional cash handlers and the general public about the introduction of these new banknotes, both of which have a number of new security features.
Banknote equipment manufacturers and other suppliers will continue to receive support from the Eurosystem in adapting their machines and authentication devices to the new banknotes.
You can check your notes by using the simple “feel, look and tilt” method. Information on simple ways to check whether euro bank notes are genuine can be found on the websites of the Central Bank of Cyprus https://www.centralbank.cy/en/home and the European Central Bank https://www.ecb.europa.eu/home/html/index.en.html.