In 2016, a total of 2,171 counterfeits were detected among euro banknotes in circulation in Finland. The number of counterfeits had approximately doubled from 2015. The growth in number of counterfeits was largely due to an individual incident late in 2016, in connection with which nearly one thousand EUR 500 counterfeit poor-quality banknotes were found in Helsinki. The case is currently under police investigation. As regards the rest of the banknote denominations, the numbers of counterfeits remained at the 2015 level.

Compared with other euro area countries, the numbers of counterfeit euro banknotes in Finland are still modest, due partly to the good condition of the banknotes in circulation. In November 2015, the new EUR 20 banknote entered into circulation, and a new EUR 50 banknote will follow on 4 April 2017. New security features in the banknote will make it easier than before to verify its authenticity. 'Although the number of counterfeits has increased, the probability of receiving one is still very small,' says Jussi Kangas, Adviser at the Bank of Finland. 'However, when handling banknotes it is advisable to pay attention to the security features.'

​Number of counterfeits ​620 ​427 502 ​1 085 2 171

Of the different denominations of banknotes, the EUR 500 was the most frequently discovered counterfeit banknote in Finland (1,000 counterfeits) in 2016, followed by the EUR 50 (446 counterfeits) and EUR 20 (342 counterfeits). Without the one above-mentioned case, in which a large number of EUR 500 counterfeits were found, the total number would be close to the 2015 number and the EUR 50 would be the most counterfeited banknote.

A number of security features have been incorporated into euro banknotes for authentication purposes. Banknote authenticity can be checked by using the simple tests described in Eurosystem publications, i.e. by feeling the raised print, looking at the banknote and tilting it. In case of doubt, a suspect banknote should be compared directly with one that is known to be genuine. Instructions and guides for checking banknote authenticity can be found on the Bank of Finland website (

In a press release issued today (, the European Central Bank provides an overview of the situation regarding counterfeit euro banknotes.

For further information on the situation in Finland, please contact

Jussi Kangas, Adviser at the Bank of Finland, tel. +358 10 831 3432
Jukka Martikainen, Detective Chief Inspector, National Bureau of Investigation, tel. +358 295 486 598
Lauri Åberg, Detective Sergeant, Helsinki Police, tel. +358 295 475 528.