Counterfeit Detection

Counterfeit Detection

Hanorin Komunidade > Currencies > Counterfeit Detection


This serious offence of counterfeiting local currency has reemerged in recent year as reflected by the number of counterfeit notes which have been presented to the Banco Central de Timor-Leste.

Although bearing some resemblance to a genuine note, the counterfeits are easily distinguished through the absence of the watermark, paper printing and windowed security thread, as well as the softness and poor quality of the paper used.

Members of the public and the business community are again reminded to carefully check all currency notes, especially the higher denomination notes, which come into their possession.

Anyone who believes he or she is in possession of a counterfeit note should bring it to the Banco Central for examination and further appropriate action.

Recognize and foster cooperation with United States official law enforcement entities, such as the United States Secret Service, as well as with the US Federal Reserve Bank.

Counterfeit in Timor-Leste

The majority of counterfeits in 2015 were $20 and $10 banknotes. Although this represents an increase in counterfeiting activity from recent years, the level of counterfeiting remains low by international standards. The common number and denomination of the counterfeit notes presented to the Central Bank are:

Source BCTL $100 $50 $20 $10 $5 Total
Public 6 1 3 - - 10
Commercial Banks 1 3 73 61 5 143
FRBNY - Repatriations - - 1 2 - 3
Number Counterfeits 7 4 78 63 5 157
Nominal Value $700 $1,560 $560 $630 $25 $3,115

Under Organic Law article 26 of the Banco Central de Timor-Leste that the Banknotes and coins are legal tender in Timor-Leste or abroad and presented to financial institutions and other entities authorized for carry out exchange operations and which are suspected of being forgeries, must be retained and immediately sent to the competent authorities in accordance with the law and regulations.

The bank shall seize all notes and coins presented to it which are suspected of being counterfeiting or the face value changed, and shall draw up a report identifying the notes, their bearer, and the grounds for suspicion shall be forwarded to the competent authorities pursuant to Penal Code Procedures. The person involving in the issue and produce of counterfeit notes and coins is an offence, carrying a prison term of up to 10 years.  Consequently, the Banco Central has placed this serious matter of counterfeit notes with the police for investigation and appropriate action.

Education program

During 2015, the Central Bank conduct a currency education program through developed materials on “Know Our Currency” it’s real to maintaining confidence in the US dollar and centavos coins as the official currency of Timor-Leste as well as awareness of counterfeit notes.

Experience of the annual counterfeit

The Central Bank works closely with law enforcement agencies to monitor trends in counterfeiting and identify emerging counterfeiting threats thought register at the database of the U.S. Secret Services.

The Bank's Counterfeit Examination Laboratory, located in Banco Central de Timor-Leste, also assists police by providing counterfeit examination services, including preparing expert witness statements and court testimonies.

The following table provides some evidence on the frequency with which counterfeit notes are found in domestic and foreign deposits at U.S. Federal Reserve Bank cash office with the overall result by number counterfeits from 2007 to 2015.

Course BCTL Public Commercial Banks FRBNY Application Law (Police) Total Notes
 2007 3 3 2 - 8
 2008 6 31 4 50 91
 2009 18 34 5 25 82
 2010 37 28 24 1 90
 2011 63 20 22 44 149
 2012 9 7 18 9 43
 2013 8 10 4 2 24
 2014 6 37 7 2 52
 2015 11 143 3 - 157
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