Bank of Lithuania: euro banknote counterfeiting decreased by more than half over the year
In 2020, the Bank of Lithuania evaluated a total of 1,333 euro counterfeits (1,172 banknotes and 161 coins) – 57% less compared to 2019, when 3,078 counterfeits were detected.
“A decrease in counterfeit money is observed not only in Lithuania, but across the entire euro area as well. It can be attributed to various factors, one of them being a slight decline in cash payments during the quarantine,” said Ieva Vanskevičė, Cash Expert at the Bank of Lithuania.
In 2020, particularly in the fourth quarter of the year, a drop in so-called movie money was also observed. The central bank warned Lithuania’s residents about this type of counterfeit euro banknotes in spring 2020.
Chart 1. Counterfeit euro banknotes and coins in Lithuania
*Approximately 1,000 banknotes were seized before circulation.
Source: Bank of Lithuania.
As in 2019, €50 and €20 banknotes comprised the largest share of all counterfeits (46% and 18% respectively). The lowest share of the total were €5 and €200 banknotes.
Chart 2. Counterfeit euro banknotes in Lithuania by denomination (2020)
“In the euro area, on average, 17 counterfeits are detected per 1 million genuine banknotes in circulation, while this number in Lithuania is even lower. Therefore, the likelihood of receiving a counterfeit is very small, yet we encourage everyone to pay attention to the money you receive and verify it using the “feel, look and tilt” method,” said Ieva Vanskevičė.
The Bank of Lithuania not only evaluates counterfeits, but also exchanges worn and damaged euro and litas banknotes or coins. Last year, nearly 44,000 damaged or worn banknotes and coins were exchanged at the Bank of Lithuania, the total value of which reached around €970,000. Experts have noticed that some of the banknotes exchanged by residents are torn, mouldy, decayed or burnt in furnaces and accidental fires. People sometimes find hidden and forgotten money under the floor, in door stands or old furniture. In each case, regardless of the amount, every attempt is made to restore as much money as possible and reimburse its value.
The Bank of Lithuania cash offices in Vilnius and Kaunas provide such free-of-charge services as exchange of litas into euro for an unlimited period of time, and exchange of euro banknotes and coins into larger or smaller denominations. More information on the provided services can be found here.
On 31 December 2020, the value of euro banknotes and coins issued into circulation by the Bank of Lithuania amounted to almost €5.9 billion.