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Travelling to Aus? Watch out for fake AUD100 & AUD50 notes


While Australia is largely considered a cashless society, there have been news of fake AU$100 and AU$50 notes in circulation. While it’s rare to spend large notes on the ground while travelling, chances are that travellers may come across them at money changers. In December 2016, there’s been a surge in circulation of these notes, particularly the AU$100.

In summary:
- the new fake AU$100 bills have the same serial number: AI 13933231
- last year there were 3,650 fake AU$100 notes & 22,000 counterfeit AU$50 notes
- the bills reportedly have the same feel as a the polymer notes
- the government has replaced the AU$5 note, with the AU$10 due in September

According to a report by The Age, the notes are being passed around at “restaurants, pubs and shops”, and have largely avoided detection due to their high-quality counterfeit. A source familiar with the bills said they had the same feel as a the polymer notes, and included the clear window with a lyrebird.

However, the new fake AU$100 bills do have one flaw – each has the same serial number: AI 13933231.

However, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), the rate of counterfeiting of AU$100 bills remains low in comparison to the number of AU$50 fakes detected.

The AU$50 tends to be preferred by criminal elements due to its ubiquitous use in legitimate transactions, according to a recent RBA research report. In 2016, around 3650 fake AU$100 notes were discovered, compared to more than 22,000 counterfeit AU$50 notes.

The federal government is considering pulling AU$100 from circulation, due to the frequency of use by organised crime syndicates and tax cheats – it has doubled in the last 20 years despite the move towards a cashless purchasing technology. Already, the AU$5 note was replaced last year, containing newer security measures, while a new AU$10 note will be introduced in September 2017.

However, the lengthy production schedule for the new currency means it will take at least until late 2019 for an updated AU$100 note to enter circulation. In the meantime, travellers can either look out for fakes by checking them with banks, or go cashless.


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