In 2023 in Germany, the Bundesbank registered approximately 56,600 counterfeit euro banknotes with a nominal value of €5.1 million in German payments. The number of counterfeits was thus up by 28.2% on the year. 

“The increase in counterfeit figures was driven by a handful of major cases of fraud, predominantly involving counterfeit €200 and €500 banknotes,” stated Burkhard Balz, the Bundesbank’s Executive Board member responsible for cash management. He explained that around a dozen fraudulent transactions in luxury goods such as jewellery, gold bars, watches and cars meant that the loss arising from counterfeits ended up being 90% higher in 2023 than it had been the year before. “Overall, the incidence of counterfeiting is still low and the risk to members of the public remains small: the number of counterfeits in 2023 averaged out at about seven banknotes per 10,000 inhabitants.”

The table below shows the distribution of counterfeits across the various denominations in 2023 and changes compared with 2022.

BanknotesNumberShare (rounded)Year-on-year change

At around 29,900, the number of counterfeits detected in the second half of 2023 was higher than the figure for the first half of the year (26,690).

As in previous years, easy-to-spot counterfeits marked “movie money” or “prop copy” made up a large proportion of the fake banknotes, especially when it came to €10 and €20 denominations. These notes do not exhibit any security features. On some of the specimens the label “movie money” had been covered over and replaced with an imitation signature.

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