The Archipelago

Counterfeit money transactions
in Medan on the rise

Bank Indonesia (BI) has reported that transactions involving counterfeit money at a number of banks in Medan, North Sumatra, have risen this year compared to last year.

Based on BI data, the number of such transactions had reached 1,652 banknotes as of October this year, an increase of around 3 percent compared to the same period last year.

The payment system head at BI’s Medan branch, Kahfi Zulkarnain, said transactions with counterfeit money occur almost every day. He added that BI had confiscated a total value of Rp 89,735,000 in counterfeit banknotes as of October this year. He said the fake banknotes were generally in Rp 50,000 and Rp 100,000 denominations.

“Until October this year, we discovered 1,129 fake Rp 50,000 notes and 300 fake Rp 100,000 notes at the bank,” Kahfi told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

Kahfi said the counterfeit money transactions appeared during payments and cash deposits at the bank.

Asked whether customers were aware that the money they were using for payments and deposits was counterfeit, Kahfi said that generally, they were unaware.

“A number of customers we asked said they were unaware where they had received the counterfeit banknotes. Many of them are slipped among bundles of cash so they are hard to detect,” said Kahfi, adding that new customers only knew the money they used to make payments or deposits were fake after being notified by bank employees.

Kahfi added that BI had issued newly-designed Rp 20,000, Rp 50,000 and Rp 100,000 denomination banknotes in an effort to anticipate this recent increased circulation of counterfeit banknotes. He said the issuance of the new banknotes was in the framework of enhancing protection from forgery and optimizing the elemental function of design so as to aid the public in recognizing genuine rupiah banknotes.

Besides launching the new banknotes, Kahfi added that BI would continue to collaborate with other parties and called on every element of society to be more careful and aware of the circulation of fake banknotes. He said the lack of awareness on the part of the public was one of the reasons for the rise in money counterfeiting.

Asked whether the discovery of fake banknotes in a number of banks in Medan had been reported to police, Kahfi said BI had handed over all counterfeit notes to police as evidence.

When contacted for confirmation, North Sumatra Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Heru Prakoso said every report of fake banknotes from the banks were immediately investigated. He did not deny the recent rise in cases of fake banknotes in the province.

“Police are currently investigating the cases of fake banknotes circulating in North Sumatra recently, including tracking down the counterfeiters,” said Heru.

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