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Counterfeit currency

Creating and handling counterfeit currency is a crime

About counterfeit currency

It is an offence to knowingly possess counterfeit currency from any country.

In Australia:

  • the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is responsible for issuing, reissuing and cancelling banknotes
  • the Royal Australian Mint is the sole supplier of Australian coinage.

Banknotes and coinage imitating Australian currency from any other source are counterfeit. This includes replicas and other products that are made to resemble genuine Australian currency.

To learn more about how to identify counterfeit Australian banknotes, read the

RBA's counterfeit detection guide

Handling counterfeit currency

If you suspect that currency is counterfeit, you can refuse to accept it (as long as it is safe to do so).

If you have counterfeit currency, you should handle it as little as possible and:

  • store it in an envelope
  • record details of how it came to you
  • take it to your state or territory police and lodge a report.

State and territory police officers

If the currency is not subject to investigation, you should:

  1. complete a suspect counterfeit banknote form, ticking the 'receipt' box
  2. send the form and the suspected counterfeit currency to us via registered mail:

         Australian Federal Police
         Locked Bag 4817
         Somerton VIC 3062

After we've processed the suspected counterfeit currency, we can send you a property receipt if you ask for one.

If the suspected counterfeit currency is deemed to be genuine, we will return it to you.

It can take several weeks for receipts to be issued or genuine currency to be returned.

Expert witness statement

If the currency is the subject of an investigation, a suspect has been identified, and you need an expert witness statement for court:

  1. complete a suspect counterfeit banknote form
  2. tick the 'statement for court' box
  3. add the court date and suspect details in the 'Further information' section
  4. send the form and the suspected counterfeit currency to us via registered mail:

         Australian Federal Police
         Locked Bag 4817
         Somerton VIC 3062

An expert witness statement and the suspected counterfeit currency will be returned to you for inclusion in your brief.

After court proceedings have concluded, return the counterfeit currency and a copy of the court result to us so the currency can be destroyed.

Counterfeit currency is held for 90 days as required by the Crimes (Currency) Act 1981 and then destroyed. Only the RBA is authorised to destroy currency.

Writing media releases

If you need help preparing a media release about counterfeit currency, contact the RBA by either:

Traveller's cheques

Counterfeiting traveller's cheques is not a Commonwealth offence.

If you suspect that you have a counterfeit traveller's cheque, you can either:

  • contact your state or territory police
  • report the matter to the relevant issuing authority.

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