Letter: Funny money

Sir: It seems accepting pounds 20 notes is increasingly like playing Russian roulette with your finances ("Gang guilty of flooding Britain with fake notes", 23 December). With forgery techniques becoming more and more sophisticated, the police will need all the assistance they can get.

Banks are the guardians of the nation's finances, and, as such, have a duty of care to protect their customers against counterfeiting. In my experience, however, most of the security measures currently in place fall some way short of meeting this responsibility.

Advanced pattern recognition technology is available which could detect fake notes by matching serial numbers against a database of known forgeries. Scanning all money processed over bank counters would enable the origin, and patterns in distribution, of counterfeit notes to be quickly and easily traced.

Unless banks embrace intelligent technologies, rather than relying on luck or a vigilant clerk, the millennium could herald the start of money madness.

Dr RICHARD BRIERTON

Cambridge

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