Traders are being urged to be vigilant after scammers were spotted using fake bank notes in Aberdeen
Police said three incidents have been reported relating to fake £20 notes in shops.
There have been 13 more incidents across the north-east and officers are encouraging businesses to take precautions.
Among those companies targeted in the city were Greggs bakery in Union Square shopping centre and The Good Food Shop in the Bon Accord Centre.
Another trader, who asked not to be named, said: “It happened to us but luckily we spotted it.
“We’re a very busy high street shop and we don’t expect customers to be trying to con us so it can be hard for us to spot.
“On this day, we were able to check the note and it came up as fake and the person left. It’s very unsettling.”
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A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Between January 1 and March 16, we received three reported incidents of counterfeit currency being used in stores in Aberdeen city centre.
“There have 16 incidents across North East Division. All these were found to be counterfeit Bank of Scotland £20 notes.”
Sergeant Andy Sawers, of the City Centre Problem Solving Team, said: “This type of incident is still uncommon in the city centre.
“However, we provided retailers with counterfeit currency packs last year – providing guidance and giving confidence to retailers on how to identify counterfeits and deal with these incidents.
“Anyone passing these notes as genuine can be arrested and charged.
“Please ensure you check any paper notes you may receive to ensure that they are genuine.
“Check the look and feel – the texture, watermark, sharpness of print and size and compare against real ones.
“If anyone suspects they have been handed or found a fake bank note, they should retain it and contact police.
“Paper notes are more likely to be used as counterfeit and easily circulated, as opposed to the newly released polymer notes.”
The Police Scotland spokesman added: “A 28-year-old man has been charged in connection with an alleged incident of counterfeit currency use and reported to the Procurator Fiscal.”