The eurozone's central bank said 20-euro banknotes were the most common counterfeit bills in 2015. Despite the record number of counterfeit euros, the ECB said fake cash "remains very low" comparatively.
The European Central Bank (ECB) on Friday said an unprecedented number of counterfeit euro notes were removed from circulation across the globe in 2015.
The bank withdrew a total of 445,000 fake banknotes from circulation in the second half of the year, down 2 percent from the first half of the year, which witnessed 454,000 counterfeit notes removed for a total of 899,000.
The number was approximately 61,000 more than 2014, and nearly 40,000 more than the previous record set in 2009, which stood at 860,000 notes.
The majority of the counterfeit bills discovered to be in circulation were 20-euro notes, comprising 46.2 percent of all those removed in the second half of the year. Fifty-euro notes were the second-highest denomination removed from circulation.
However, despite the unprecedented number of fake banknotes in circulation, the ECB that the number is "still quite small" compared to the amount of real notes.
"The number of counterfeits remains very low in comparison with the increasing number of genuine banknotes in circulation (over 18 billion during the second half of 2015)," the ECB said in its biannual report on counterfeiting in the eurozone.
In November, the ECB introduced a new 20-euro banknote that featured improved security features to curb counterfeiting.
ls/sms (AFP, dpa)