Why you can buy fake money so easily

What happened?

Police warn bar bosses that some partyers, especially with carnival, might try to pay with fake money. In the hustle and bustle, a fake fifty note at the bar can easily slip through. That‘s why the police say check carefully. False bills are sold in special Telegram groups, as well as simply open and exposed on Aliexpress. Is that allowed?

Why do I need to know this?

Recently it has been in the news several times: young people caught with fake money. Like a schoolboy in Sneek, who had fake 50 euro bills in his locker and had to leave school. And on the market of Eindhoven, a group of teenagers managed to deal with some stuff with fake notes.

They said that they just ordered the fake money on Asian webshops like Aliexpress. And indeed, a small round shows that you can buy a pack of bills for a few euros. It is often noticeable that the money is not real. For example, the notes have a slightly different color. But do you see that in a dark bar?

Through Telegram, the parcels of banknotes are more expensive, but they promise ‘top quality‘. For example, you pay 60 euros for ten 50 bills, but according to the sellers, they are made of โ€œAsian cotton paperโ€ and have a โ€œwatermark, hologram and printed figuresโ€.

Who finds what?

The online purchase and sale of fake money is not something new, says the police. However, it is something that they, and also the police in other countries, would like to do something about. But that’s not easy. Having counterfeit money or selling it is not punishable everywhere, even here in the Netherlands. You may have some fake flaps at home, as long as you don‘t (try to) pay with it.

Also Aliexpress is allowed to simply sell this. In Asia, for example, the fake notes are used in certain rituals. โ€œFor example, to scatter on marriages and departures. That way, you wish others wealth. This is also happening in the Netherlands,โ€ explains a police spokesman. So it’s not possible to take offline, but the police are talking to webshops that sell fake euros, especially if they look too much like real money.

De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), which deals with all the money in our country, says that almost 40,000 fake euro banknotes were discovered last year. That number has been about the same for several years. If you consider that there are 22 billion real euro notes worldwide, that is not so much. By the way, DNB doesn‘t go after fake money, they leave that to the police.

Many cafรฉs have meanwhile taken measures for this carnival, so as not to have a cash register full of fake notes at the end of the day. Pubs, for example, only work with special drink coins. You can buy them at a separate checkout, where you can check better than behind the bar.

โ€œ We have purchased a special device, with which we can easily check the banknotes. A beep is okay, if it is counterfeit, the device will turn red,โ€ says bar boss Johan de Vos from cafรฉ Boerke Verschuren in Breda.

Can I order or use fake money?

Buying counterfeit bills is not prohibited. At least, if you only use it to pose for example at home for your Insta. If you take it in your pocket, it’s a tougher story. Then it might look like you really want to give it out. And if you try, you‘re punishable.

What punishment can you get?

You can – yes – get a fine, or community service or even a prison sentence. How much exactly depends on the situation. For example, how many bills you have and whether you’ve been caught before.

How do I recognize counterfeit money?

In real euro notes there are all kinds of parts that you can see that they are real. For example, you can feel the ink on the side with a note of 50. And if you hold the note against the light, you can see the mythical figure Europe and the number 50. Also, De Nederlandsche Bank has a special app that allows you to scan your note.

What if I spend money I didn‘t know was fake?

Well, if you get caught, you have some explaining to do. You can imagine that everyone is trying to get out of it by saying they didn’t know. Officers will interrogate you in this case to find out if your story is a bit accurate.