CAN you spot the difference between a fake $50 note and a real one?
Police are warning central Victorian residents to be on the lookout for counterfeit banknotes following reports of fake $50 notes being used at Bendigo businesses.
Police say they have had reports of people attempting to use the counterfeit $50 bills in recent weeks, including at Hungry Jacks and Chemist Warehouse in Long Gully.
For those who think they might have been a victim of receiving fakes, the Reserve Bank of Australia says there are a few tell-tale signs.
All genuine banknotes are printed on a special form of plastic and have a distinct feel.
"A suspect banknote may feel excessively thick or thin compared to a genuine banknote," the RBA says.
"It is difficult to start a tear along the edge of a genuine banknote.
"You can also try scrunching the banknote in your hand – a genuine banknote should spring back."
The RBA recommends checking for the Coat of Arms and also the star.
"Diamond-shaped patterns are printed inside a circle on both sides of the banknote," it says.
"If you hold the banknote up to the light, the patterns should line up perfectly to form a seven-pointed star."
Integral to any real note is the clear window.
The RBA recommends checking that the white image printed on the window cannot be easily rubbed off.
"Also look for the embossing - there is a wave pattern in the window of the $10 banknote, and the value of the banknote in the windows of $20, $50 and $100 banknotes."
It is an offence to knowingly possess counterfeit notes.
Suspect banknotes should be given to police.
Bendigo Police said the notes used in the latest incidents were of poor quality.
"They are pretty bad looking notes, but some have got through,” a police spokesperson said.
"People should be aware that they are circulating and be careful when handling money."
The RBS says businesses have the right to refuse to accept a bank note if they have concerns about it.
Anyone seeking further information on the security features of genuine banknotes should visit http://banknotes.rba.gov.au/counterfeits.html.
Anyone with information about people suspected of producing fake notes is urged contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppers.com.au