Counterfeit currency and security documents

Counterfeit currency

The circulation of counterfeit currency poses a serious threat to national economies, financial institutions and consumers worldwide. It fuels the underground economy and finances the activities of organized criminal networks and terrorists. A strong network of partnerships between the law enforcement community and the private sector is integral to putting effective solutions into place.

Issues and challenges

Recent developments in photographic, computer and printing technologies, along with the availability of low-cost equipment, have made the production of counterfeit money relatively easy. There is an obvious financial impact as counterfeit currency reduces the value of genuine currency, has an impact on the consumer through inflation, and leads to monetary losses for companies. There is also a proven connection with organized crime networks who use counterfeit money to finance illegal activities such as trafficking in human beings and drugs, and even terrorism.

INTERPOL’s unique role

One of the original mandates behind the creation of INTERPOL, was suppression of international currency counterfeiting. Since the Geneva Convention of 1929, the INTERPOL General Secretariat has functioned as the International Central Office for the Suppression of Counterfeit Currency.

While the techniques of counterfeiting have become more sophisticated, so too have the tools and services that INTERPOL provides to its member countries. These include technical databases, forensic support, training and operational assistance.

Online tools and services

The sharing of data among countries and sectors is essential in order to combat the counterfeiting and distribution of currency. With this aim in mind, INTERPOL facilitates bilateral and multilateral exchange of information on operational matters, such as the seizure of counterfeit notes and the closure of illegal print shops.

A number of web-based tools are available to authorized users via INTERPOL's secure communication network, known as I-24/7:

  • Counterfeit Alerts – alerts concerning newly discovered counterfeit banknotes in international contexts (except USD and EUR), along with a detailed forensic analysis;
  • Counterfeit Currency Statistics – annual statistical reports detailing quantities and types of counterfeit banknotes reported by INTERPOL member countries;
  • Early Warning Messages – detailed alerts published by the European Central Bank and Europol to provide relevant information about counterfeit  Euro banknotes;
  • Documentchecker Banknotes, from Keesing Technology – an online reference database that enables inspection and authentication of more than 4,800 different banknotes, including a library of over 70,000 images and details of security features.

Forensic laboratory

INTERPOL runs a Counterfeit Currency and Security Documents laboratory, providing forensic support to investigators. Services include:

  • Sourcing, analysing and storing specimens of newly issued banknotes;
  • Analysing, classifying and storing counterfeit banknotes;
  • Allocating international indicatives to newly discovered counterfeit banknotes (except for USD and EUR);
  • Producing technical analytical reports.


It is essential to equip the law enforcement community and other relevant parties – such as financial institutions – with the knowledge, skills and best practices to successfully detect and investigate currency counterfeiting.

INTERPOL has implemented a number of training courses and seminars, often in partnership with other organizations, which combine to form a comprehensive capacity building programme. The ultimate goal is to enhance knowledge and encourage innovation, in order to turn training into operational practice.


Currency counterfeiting is a problem that cannot be dealt with by law enforcement alone. We work closely with other stakeholders including monetary issuing authorities, central banks and the security printing industry.

Among our partners are the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies, European Central Bank, European Commission Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, ENFSI European Document Experts Working Group, Europol, Law Enforcement Advisory Group of the Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group, and the United States Secret Service.

04 November 2016

Fake document detection focus of INTERPOL training

12 October 2016

INTERPOL training in West Africa to combat money laundering and terrorism financing

28 September 2016

Identifying cybercriminals at core of INTERPOL-Europol conference

08 September 2016

INTERPOL strengthens cooperation in combating corruption in Africa

01 August 2016

Ringleader of global network behind thousands of online scams arrested in Nigeria

20 June 2016

Criminal networks using stolen payment card data targeted in global operation

06 April 2016

Financial crime focus of Doha conference

31 March 2016

Coordinating efforts to better combat cybercrime focus of INTERPOL working group

17 December 2015

More than 500 arrested in INTERPOL operation targeting phone and email scams

03 December 2015

INTERPOL training on detecting fake documents aims to enhance border security

25 November 2015

Experts gather at INTERPOL to identify emerging social engineering fraud techniques

18 November 2015

Indian prime minister and INTERPOL Chief discuss cooperation

18 November 2015

Global asset recovery cooperation focus of INTERPOL-StAR conference

06 November 2015

More than 130 detained in global action tackling airline ticket fraud

02 October 2015

Identifying fake documents focus of INTERPOL and Frontex workshop

21 September 2015

INTERPOL training in Senegal tackles corruption and financial crimes

06 August 2015

Corruption and financial crime focus of INTERPOL training in Botswana

04 August 2015

Illegal online gambling in Asia targeted in INTERPOL operation

02 July 2015

Forensic document examination focus of Balkans INTERPOL training

29 June 2015

Global action against online air ticket fraudsters sees 130 detained

05 June 2015

INTERPOL group to field test new ink dating protocols to aid fraud and forgery investigations

02 June 2015

UK initiative underlines role of due diligence in securing official documents

19 May 2015

INTERPOL meeting in Bucharest aims to set the course for European security

30 January 2015

Estonia hosts INTERPOL workshop on anti-corruption and financial crimes