Retail Theft Forum Update

 I attended a recent retail theft forum and here is some important information that you and your staff should be aware off.

COULD YOU SPOT A COUNTERFEIT NOTE? – Always check a range of features don’t rely on one.

  • Is It Plastic?

Australian banknotes are printed on plastic and have a distinct feel. A suspect banknote may feel excessively thick or thin compared to a genuine banknote. It is difficult to start a tear along the edge of a genuine banknote. You can also try scrunching the banknote in your hand – a genuine banknote should spring back.

  • Check the clear window

The clear window should be part of the banknote and not an addition. Check that the white image printed on the clear window cannot be easily scratched off with a fingernail. Also look for the embossing – you should see a wave pattern in the window of $10 notes and the value of the notes in the window of $20, $50 and $100 notes.

  • Look for the Coat of Arms

If you hold the banknote to the light, you should see the Australian Coat of Arms.

  • Look for the Star

Diamond-shaped patterns are printed inside a circle on both sides of the banknote. If you hold the banknote up to the light, the patterns should line up perfectly to form a seven-pointed star.

  • Feel the dark printing

It is produced with special raised ink that can be felt with your finger.

  • Check the print quality

The background printing should be sharp. Check for irregularities such as less clearly defined patterns, thicker or thinner lines or colour differences.

  •  Look for microprinting

Under a magnifying glass you will see tiny, clearly defined words. The $5 banknote has words on the top left corner whilst other notes have words near the portraits. IE look for the words to The Man from Snowy River on the $10 banknote.

  •  Look at the banknote under UV light

Most of the banknote should not fluoresce. The exceptions are the serial numbers, a patch on the $5 note and a patch on the $20, $50 and $100 that also shows the value (e.g. 50).


If you come across a banknote that you suspect is counterfeit:

  • Handle the suspect banknote as little as possible and store in an envelope.
  • Note any relevant information, such as how it came into your possession.
  • Report the matter immediately to the Federal or State police.

You are well within your rights to refuse to accept a banknote if you have concerns about it.


  • Foiling is an emerging trend whereby offenders are stealing products by using foil similar to that found in the household kitchen such as ‘alfoil’ or aluminium based sheeting.  Shoplifters are placing items fitted with security tags into foil coated bag or by directly covering the tag itself.  The foil hinders the electromagnetic signal emitted by the tag which allows the thief to walk from the store undetected.  Security and Shop Staff should be alert and vigilant during the Christmas and New Year period to avoid being subject to this presenting crime trend.


Please be extra vigilant during this busy Christmas period


Tim, Milsom
Fremantle Chamber of Commerce 


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