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Record number of counterfeit banknotes found despite new security

The Bank of México removed more than 80,000 fake 500-peso bills from circulation

A record number of counterfeit 500-peso banknotes was detected in the first half of the year despite the release in 2018 of a new bill with enhanced security features.

The central bank reported that 80,891 fake 500-peso notes were removed from circulation between January and June.

It is the highest number of counterfeit notes of any denomination that have been detected in a six-month period since 2015. The figure exceeds the total number of fake 500-peso notes that were withdrawn from circulation in the entirety of each of the past four years.

According to the Bank of México, 156,278 bogus banknotes were removed from circulation in the first half of 2019. The total value of the phony bills was 54 million pesos (US $2.8 million).

The fake 500-peso bills had a face value of 40.4 million pesos, or 75% of the total, and accounted for 52% of all notes withdrawn from circulation.

Among the counterfeit cash detected were fake versions of all three 500-peso notes: the inaugural bill featuring army general Ignacio Zaragoza, that with the countenances of renowned Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera – which first appeared in 2010 – and the new blue-colored note featuring former president Benito Juárez on one side and a gray whale on the other.

Released on August 27, 2018, the most recent 500-peso banknote features a range of security features including fluorescent ink, a dynamic thread, embossing perceptible by touch, a watermark and a multicolor denomination.

However, it wasn’t long before the first counterfeit versions of the note were detected.

The newspaper Milenio reported that a man was arrested in Monterrey, Nuevo León, in September 2018 after trying to pay a hotel bill with nine forged 500-peso notes.

In the first half of 2019, almost 57,000 counterfeit bills that were removed from circulation – 35% of the total – were detected in Mexico City.

Almost 17,000 fake notes were detected in México state, 9,442 were discovered in Jalisco and more than 7,000 were found in each of Puebla and Nuevo León.

Bank of México reports indicate that forged banknotes are most commonly produced using inkjet or laser printers.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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