Counterfeit currency

Introduction

Counterfeiting of currency worldwide by organised crime groups or individuals has the potential to undermine public confidence in the currency and impact heavily on governments, business and individuals alike.

Legislation

All State, Territory and Federal police are authorised under the Crimes (Currency) Act 1981 to seize and prosecute currency related matters. The legislation covers domestic and foreign currencies (including US dollars and Euros).

AFP Currency Team

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) have entered into a working agreement for the administration of counterfeit currency. All currency related matters are coordinated and administered from a central location by the AFP with administrative support provided by the RBA.

How to identify a counterfeit banknote

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) maintains the responsibility for the issue, reissue and cancellation of Australian banknotes. The following information regarding Australia's Banknotes can be found on the RBA website:

How to identify a counterfeit coin

The Australian Mint (RAM) is a prescribed agency within the Commonwealth portfolio of the Treasurer and is the sole supplier of Australia's circulating coinage. Information relating to coins, policies and guidelines (including the RAM's Damaged Coin Policy) together with a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) can be found on the RAM website.

What to do if you receive a suspected counterfeit

If you are in possession of suspected counterfeit banknotes, counterfeit coins or counterfeit prescribed securities you should contact your local police or the Australian Federal Police in your state/territory. You should also complete a Suspect counterfeit banknote form detailing the circumstances of how you came into possession of the counterfeit to assist police.

If there is no police involvement you should send the suspected counterfeit, together with a completed Suspect counterfeit banknote form via registered mail to the AFP Currency Team postal address. A property receipt will be forwarded to you acknowledging receipt of the property.

Law enforcement

Evidentiary (Statement required)

The Treasurer, by instrument in writing, has appointed appropriately qualified RBA personnel to be examiners of counterfeit foreign paper money under the Crimes (Currency) Act 1981.

Law enforcement agencies requiring expert witness statements for court should contact the Australian Federal Police. As part of the process you will be requested to complete a Suspect counterfeit banknote form.

Forfeiture and Seizure

Following a successful prosecution and where the court is satisfied that any article is forfeited under the S.29 Crimes (Currency) Act 1981 a condemnation order should be sought for the disposal of the property. The property, together with a copy of the order, should then be sent to the AFP Currency team who will coordinate the disposal of the property in accordance with the directions of the Treasurer.

Suspected counterfeit currency not subject of a criminal prosecution should be sent, together with a completed Suspect counterfeit banknote form, via registered mail to the AFP Currency Team postal address. A property receipt will be forwarded to your property office once the property is received.

Traveller's cheques

Counterfeiting of traveller's cheques is not a Commonwealth offence. Anyone in possession of suspected counterfeit traveller's cheques should contact their local state/territory police or return them to the relevant Issuing Authority.

Issuing Authorities

American Express traveller's cheques

American Express
Claims Review Unit
GPO Box: 1582
Sydney NSW 1131
Australia

All other traveller's cheques

Senior Manager Global Operations
International Traveller's Cheques
1 Sheldon Square
London, W26TYT
Great Britain

Suspected counterfeit currency deemed genuine

Suspected counterfeit currency deemed genuine after examination by RBA counterfeit examiners will be returned to the owner.

Suspect counterfeit banknote form

Download the Suspect counterfeit banknote form (PDF, 500KB)

Media releases

The RBA can assist law enforcement agencies in preparing counterfeit currency-related media releases. The RBA can be contacted on 1800 633 220 or banknotes@rba.gov.au

Postal address (for suspected counterfeit currency only)

Australian Federal Police
Locked Bag 4817
Somerton , VIC 3062