Warning over dodgy King Charles banknotes and how to spot them

King Charles banknotes have been in circulation for less than a month but a warning has already been issued about counterfeit versions. The new banknotes came into circulation on June 5 and feature the king's head on £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes.

Although the notes have not yet become widespread in circulation, it has given scammers an opportunity to circulate fake ones which have no value. It has prompted an urgent warning to be sent to customers who will lose out if they end up with the fake notes, reports ChronicleLive.

Last year in 2023, a total of 116,000 fake banknotes - worth an estimated £2.5million - were taken out of circulation according to the Bank of England and Raisin UK. There are sophisticated security measures on the new polymer notes however members of the public have been warned to be extra vigilant.

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The measures make it easier for counterfeit notes to be spotted. Kevin Mountford, savings specialist and co-founder of Raisin UK, is encouraging people to scrutinise their banknotes thoroughly, particularly when transacting in cash with retailers and independent sellers.

He said: "For the foreseeable future, both Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III banknotes will be circulating. Security features are present on all of these notes, allowing you to check notes to prevent forgeries."

Additionally, he provided guidance on how to verify the authenticity of banknotes. When tilting the note from side to side, people should observe a shift in the hologram image's wording of the note's denomination. For instance, on a £5 note, the word alternates between 'Five' and 'Pounds'.

Another feature to scrutinise is the see-through window. The metallic image over this window should display specific colours - gold for the £5 and £10 notes, a blend of gold and blue for the £20 note, and gold and green for the £50 note.

In addition, the window should also exhibit a portrait that corresponds with the printed monarch. "Familiarise yourselves with the look and feel of the new notes," he suggested.

"Forgeries are often much easier to spot now these banknotes have improved from previous paper ones - however, criminals may still attempt to exploit the changes." Despite their infrequency, counterfeit banknotes are worthless and there is no compensation for any you encounter.

If you suspect a note is counterfeit, it should be handed in at your nearest police station, where it can be sent to the National Crime Agency for further investigation. "Most retailers regularly check banknotes, so it's unlikely you will come across a counterfeit when shopping with trusted retailers," Kevin added. "You should exercise more caution when accepting cash from markets, online marketplaces like Facebook, and any cash-in-hand jobs."