Beware dye-stained banknotes in South Africa

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) has warned that people in possession of dye-stained banknotes make themselves suspects of a criminal investigation.

This warning followed civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, during which hundreds of ATMs were targeted by criminals.

ATMs hold cash in special containers protected with dye-stain technology that is activated when someone tries to break open the container.

Once activated, the cash is stained with a green dye, thus defacing the notes, rendering them unusable as currency.

The stained notes are recognised as having no monetary value once they are stained.

Sabric has noticed an increase in the attempted circulation of dye-stained notes in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, following the destruction of multiple ATMs.

“People who are in possession of these notes make themselves suspects of a criminal investigation that will seek to determine if they were involved in the stealing and unauthorised access of these ATM containers,” Sabric said.

South Africans are also cautioned against accepting these dye-stained notes as legal tender as the onward use and value of these notes will not be honoured.

Sabric highlighted that ATMs are an essential part of our country’s economic infrastructure, providing vital services to our communities.

During the recent civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, hundreds of ATMs were destroyed, hampering the ability of bank customers to access cash and other financial services.

Reserve Bank warning

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) said a banknote is deemed dye-stained when it displays staining patterns from a currency degradation system.

These devices degrade banknotes, making them unusable and discouraging criminals from stealing them.

As these banknotes are considered the proceeds of crime, they have no value and cannot be exchanged.

“Dye-stained banknotes should under no circumstances be accepted. Members of the public who unwittingly come into possession of these banknotes cannot claim from the SARB and are advised to hand in these banknotes at their nearest police station,” the SARB said.

Now read: Banks and ATMs looted

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Beware dye-stained banknotes in South Africa