Fake $100 notes featuring ‘Crocodile Hunter’ Steve Irwin are circulating in the Northern Territory.
Police have warned people to be on the lookout for the counterfeit notes which had “subtle differences” including a photo of a grinning Steve Irwin where Dame Nellie Melba and Sir John Monash should be.
Other fake $100 notes being passed around Australia’s top end featured images of John Farnham and even Alf from television soap opera Home and Away.
Police said the novelty notes, usually used for film and television productions, were stolen from an Alice Springs on Monday.
They were worried Territorians might be “hoodwinked” by the fake cash.
Other tell-tale signs that the notes were illegitimate included the word Australia, usually written in cursive across the centre of the $100 bill, instead reading “Staylia”.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Robert Kent said it was unclear how many notes were in circulation.
“Police would suggest maybe taking a quick glance at any bills received for the next few weeks to make sure you're getting the real thing,” he said.
The fake notes drama comes after a number of online petitions have called for the late Steve Irwin to feature on Australian currency.
Vincent Wu and Kirby Miles created a petition on the Australian Parliament House website arguing that the death of Queen Elizabeth II meant Australian bank notes should be redesigned.
“The death of Queen Elizabeth II and the proclamation of King Charles III raises an important question about the future of Australian currency,” the petition reads.
“There is no one more vital to the Australian culture and identity than Steve Irwin. Steve is beloved by all and has become synonymous with the Australian values we hold so dearly.
“He epitomised the spirit of mateship; he deeply loved the Australian Wildlife, working hard towards conservation and education but perhaps most importantly he's just a good bloke.”
The petition did not prove popular, having ended last week with only 2,228 signatures.
Irwin, known to millions around the world as 'the Crocodile Hunter', died on September 4, 2006, at the age of 44 after being pierced in the chest by a stingray while filming a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef.