C. Aliens

DNM Vendors Still Selling Fake Euros, Despite German Crackdown

The counterfeit currency industry, in 2016, bloomed on the darknet and impacted specific regions far more than others. DeepDotWeb readers need no convincing that Germany has struggled with an influx​ of counterfeit currency, tickets, and nearly anything else worth counterfeiting. Even though Germany’s darknet crackdown started with weapons, a recent warning from the Federal Criminal Police Office revealed that counterfeits are still an issue.

BKA President Holger Münch explained that the number of counterfeit euros in circulation dropped since the year prior. The figures he gave backed up some predictions from German authorities last year. Part of the reason for the decline, he told the press in Wiesbaden, was that “more and more manufacturing facilities were identified in the recent year.”

Last year, in the first half of the year, counterfeit currency arrests contributed to the majority of the darknet-connected arrests. Then, we saw the fall of part of the NapoliGroup—responsible for some of the best counterfeits in the world. In 2014, the NapoliGroup controlled 90% of the counterfeit circulation. They sold counterfeits through several syndicates worldwide before branching into the darknet.

The Naples-centric counterfeiting ring did not control the counterfeit arena to a degree so great that their downfall alone caused the market’s decline. Law enforcement, as demonstrated time and time again, adapts and learns along with criminals. Police simply got better at their job.

The LKA, for instance, reported 7,000 counterfeit euro seizures in Hanover. Based on detection statistics and a growing identification rate from stores and banks, LKA spokesperson Nevin Ayyildiz announced the 2017 prediction. The spokesperson explained that Germany should see a “moderate decline” of 10% in 2017. The reason, according to the spokesperson, was that small shops and stores “were learning to identify the fake currency.” Banks already knew how.

Holger Münch explained that one of the biggest problems for shutting down online counterfeit sales, in general, was that the entire process can start and finish through the mail. All required “ingredients” could be made or ordered from other darknet vendors. Holograms, printers, security strips. Depends on the currency and note itself.

However, he explained that the number was down by 13% from the previous year. Investigations increased by 18% with an increase in suspects as well—a 13% increase to 3,454. Counterfeit production was up but circulation was down. That being said, he closed by explaining that damage caused by counterfeit euro notes hit an all-time high since the introduction of the euro.

Another case of law enforcement getting more competent or just the opposite – good counterfeiters making notes more difficult to detect while the unskilled counterfeiters fall behind?