There have been a number of reported instances in the past week of fake $50 notes being circulated in the Sunshine Coast and North Brisbane regions, with some fuel retailers reporting having been the victim of this fraud.

Local Police in these areas are also understood to be visiting service stations and other local businesses to raise awareness of the heightened risk of counterfeit notes.

ACAPMA understands that the quality of these banknotes is relatively high, meaning that console operators need to examine all $50 notes carefully.

The recent Queensland experience is a warning for all of us and follows national circulation of fake $50 notes in February of last year.

“Given the size of our average transactions and the anonymity of fuel purchases using cash, this is an issue for the fuel retail industry as a whole – not just those in the currently affected areas”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

“The busy summer holiday period also means that service stations are busier than usual and therefore may not be as vigilant about fake notes”, said Mark.

Information about how to identify a counterfeit banknote can be found on the Australian Federal Police website (AFP) at https://www.afp.gov.au/what-we-do/crime-types/counterfeit-currency.

The website also contains information on what to do if you find yourself in possession of a counterfeit banknote, including reporting the incident to local police and completing a suspect counterfeit Note Bank form and submitting it to the AFP (See https://www.afp.gov.au/sites/default/files/PDF/afp-suspect-banknote-submission-form.pdf).

“If a console operator suspects that they are being passed a counterfeit note then they should politely refuse to accept the note, ask for an alternative form of payment and make a mental note of the appearance of their customer”, said Mark.

“Above all, it is essential that the console operator keep a cool head and stay calm – any business is entitled to refuse to accept currency that they suspect may be counterfeit and ask the customer for an alternative form of payment”, said Mark.

“Ideally, all incidents involving counterfeit notes should be reported to the Local Police as soon as possible and CCTV footage can be helpful in identifying offenders”, said Mark.

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