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CABBIES WARNED: Spike in SCAMMERS targeting taxi drivers with FAKE £20 banknotes

Updated: Dec 4, 2022

Image credit: Bank of England

Taxi drivers are being warned to avoid scammers looking to exchange FAKE £20 banknotes for short taxi rides.

The fraudsters are targeting cabbies in London by hailing black cabs and making short £5 fare journeys. On completion, the passenger would hand over a counterfeit banknote in the hope that they would receive £15 back in real money.

Frustrated cabbies have taken to social media to warn others following a spate of imitation notes in recent weeks.

The polymer £20 banknote entered circulation back in February 2020 and features artist JMW Turner.

The polymer £20 is said to be the most secure Bank of England banknote yet. It includes two see-through windows and a two colour foil which make it very difficult to counterfeit. The note has joined the Churchill £5 and the Austen £10 in the first series of polymer notes. A new polymer £50 featuring Alan Turing has also been introduced.

The recent batch of fake £20 banknotes are said to have no raised brail bumps on the corner of the note and no ‘20’ numerals displayed in the bottom corner window.

Features on the new £20 note include:

  • A large see-through window with a blue and gold foil on the front depicting Margate lighthouse and Turner Contemporary. The foil is silver on the back. The shape of the large window is based on the shape of the fountains in Trafalgar Square.

  • A smaller see-through window in the bottom corner of the note, inspired by Tintern Abbey.

  • JMW Turner’s self-portrait, painted c.1799 and currently on display in Tate Britain.

  • One of Turner’s most eminent paintings The Fighting Temeraire; a tribute to the ship HMS Temeraire which played a distinguished role in Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The painting is currently on display in the National Gallery and was voted the nation’s favourite painting in a 2005 poll run by BBC Radio 4.

  • A metallic hologram which changes between the word ‘Twenty’ and ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted.

  • The Queen’s portrait in the see-through window with ‘£20 Bank of England’ printed twice around the edge.

  • A silver foil patch with a 3D image of the coronation crown.

  • A purple foil patch containing the letter ‘T’ and based on the staircase at Tate Britain.

  • A quote “Light is therefore colour” from an 1818 lecture by Turner referring to the innovative use of light, shade, colour and tone in his pictures.

  • Turner’s signature from his Will, the document with which he bequeathed many of his paintings to the nation.

Image credits: Bank of England


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