If you’re jetting off to Spain this summer for a much-needed break, you’ll need to be wary of a new money scam that has been uncovered. Spanish police have revealed that there are fake banknotes in the country, with potentially thousands of pounds of counterfeit money circulating. The convincing notes look like real euros – but they’re actually designed to be used on screen by actors.
The police have warned that all tourists in Spain must double check their euros in case they have been given the false notes, after they discovered that thousands of pounds worth of fake “movie money” is flooding the country.
Two gangs have been smashed, one in the Éibar district of Guipúzcoa in the Basque region and another in Palencia in Castile and León.
Five people have been arrested and counterfeit euro banknotes of different face values have been seized.
The fake notes were mainly made up of five, ten, 20 and 50 euros.
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The notes also lack the usual security strips and logos.
Police say the gangs were trying to sell the counterfeits over the internet, promoting the fakes as “very good quality” and able to deceive checking machines in shops which was a false claim.
Investigators discovered that several people were behind the scam in the Basque Country, mainly San Sebastián and Bilbao.
“Those arrested not only sold counterfeit banknotes via the internet throughout Spain but also distributed them through stores and businesses,” said a police spokesman.
The gang got hold of the notes by buying them from a genuine ticket agency advertising movie money but then started to pass them off in shops.
To make them look more authentic, they used different types of markers and pencils with silver inks to give shine and packaging to the security elements – holographic strip and security window, among others.
Police said the gang had their own network of teenagers who used the notes on their behalf.
They would usually pay for low value refreshments or pizzas using a bogus 50 euros and get substantial change.
The operation is still open and the arrest of more people is not ruled out.
Anyone in Spain is being urged to look closely at their euro notes to make sure they are genuine as with the naked eye, they look authentic.
The watermark and security thread should be visible.
If in doubt, the advice is to go to a bank to check.
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot