In 2022, Banco de Portugal yanked more than 10,000 counterfeit banknotes from circulation.


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The Bank of Portugal (BdP) has withdrawn 10,732 counterfeit euro banknotes with a face value of 468,400 euros and 2,133 counterfeit euro coins from circulation in 2022, representing “tiny percentages” of genuine banknotes and coinage.

According to the BdP’s “Monetary Issue Report” for 2022, “the number of counterfeit euro banknotes withdrawn from circulation decreased by 1.0% compared to 2021,” with the number of counterfeits detected in the country accounting for 2.9% of the quantity detected worldwide and 3.0% of those seized in the euro area.

The counterfeit banknotes consisted primarily of 10 and 20 euro banknotes, and in 2022, unlike the previous year, more 10 euro counterfeits were discovered than 20 euro counterfeits.

Although it was not the most counterfeited denomination, the number of 50 Euro counterfeits withdrawn from circulation increased by 32.8%.

As for coins, 2,133 counterfeit coins were seized in Portugal last year, representing 0.9% of the total withdrawn from circulation, with 2-euro coins remaining the most commonly counterfeited.

Banco de Portugal held training courses on the euro banknote and coin with 9,210 participants and 9,080 professionals receiving e-learning training last year to combat forgery.

Banco de Portugal examined the authenticity and quality of 557 million banknotes and 79 million coins during the period under review, and 72 tons of unsuitable banknotes were destroyed and incinerated “using the electricity generated in the process.”

This verification is also performed by credit institutions and cash-in-transit companies, which processed six times and seventy-four times more banknotes and coinage than the BdP combined. In 555 examinations conducted throughout the country by Banco de Portugal, compliance with the laws governing this activity was assessed.

The central bank also recovered 44,829 damaged banknotes manually, returning 1,6 million euros to their owners, and analyzed 215,946 banknotes rendered unusable by anti-theft devices, totaling 3,3 million euros.

In 2022, 376,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation worldwide, or 13 counterfeits for every million genuine euro banknotes.

“The number of seizures was at one of the lowest levels since the introduction of the euro, but reflects an increase of 8.4% over the previous year,” notes the BdP, adding that “this variation is likely associated with the recovery of economic activity following the removal of most of the restrictive measures adopted in response to the covid-19 pandemic.”

The 20 euro and 50 euro denominations remained the most counterfeited, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the total withdrawn from circulation.

Compared to 2021, the number of counterfeit euro coins withdrawn from circulation worldwide increased last year.

In total, 229,000 pieces were confiscated, exceeding the 174,000 removed from circulation in 2021.

Despite this, the BdP emphasizes that “considering the total number of genuine coins in circulation at the end of the year, the number of counterfeits seized remained small (0.0002%)” and that “the two-euro coin remained the primary target of counterfeiters.”

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