The controversial new £5 notes have only been in circulation for a few months, but the Bank of England and police are investigating claims that fake notes are already in circulation.
Suspected forgeries have been spotted across the country, despite the authorities’ insistence that the new models are much harder to fake.
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However, the Bank of England has poured cold water on the forgery claims, suggesting that what customers and businesses suspect to be fake notes are in fact real – but damaged.
This is despite reports that businesses in Dorset have seen fivers that have been copied onto plain paper, rather than the polymer that the real notes use. The claims are being investigated by Dorset Police.
The suspected fakes were spotted in the Bearwood and Kinson areas, near Poole. Dorset officer Sarah Dutton said: “Please be aware of counterfeit new five pound notes circulating in the area. Report any suspicious activity via 101.”
How can I spot a fake fiver?
The new £5 note has a range of security features that the Bank of England says will make them much harder to forge. Check all the following if you think you might have a fake note:
- Make sure the image of Big Ben is gold on the front of the note and silver on the back
- Check to see that the transparent window is intact, along with the portrait of the Queen
- Check the holographic foil patch. The text should change from ‘Five’ to ‘Pounds’ as the note is tilted
- When you wiggle the note, the crown should become 3D
- Check the green foil patch on the back of the note - it should contain the word ‘Blenheim’
- Under a UV light, an ultraviolet ‘5’ should appear in the bottom left hand corner of the note.
Could my fiver be worth a fortune?
Meanwhile, real new fivers have been fetching astonishing sums on auction websites, with some selling for tens of thousands of pounds.
Notes with low or unusual serial numbers have been going for thousands on eBay, and some are suspected to have changed hands with collectors several times already.
This week The Sun reported that four Jane Austen five pound notes, released into circulation when the new notes were introduced, could be worth as much as £50,000 each.
Three such notes have already been found, but the remaining two, each with a unique Jane Austen quote, are believed to remain in circulation.
Do you think you’ve spotted a fake fiver? Do you like the new notes? Let us know in the comments.