Euro Becomes a Favored Target for Counterfeiters

But it's not so bad, say officials


The European Central Bank withdrew 317,000 counterfeit euro bank notes from circulation in the first half of 2013, an increase of 26.3 percent from the same period last year.

The region's 20-euro ($2.63) and 50-euro notes were the most counterfeited, accounting for 82.1 percent of the total, the bank said in an e-mailed statement today. Forged 100-euro notes accounted for 12.4 percent of the total. About 98.5 percent of the fake currency was found in euro-area countries.

"While there has been an increase in counterfeits discovered in the first half of 2013, the number of counterfeits recovered in 2012 was particularly low and the latest figure is comparable with levels seen in previous years," the ECB said in the statement. The number of genuine bank notes in circulation is 15.1 billion, it said.