Counterfeit bills on the rise

Counterfeit currency has been surfacing over the summer and RCMP warn the bills have been used in Penticton.

  • Aug. 2, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Counterfeit currency has been surfacing over the summer and RCMP warn the bills have been used in Penticton.

“It’s actually floating around the province. There has been a marked increase of counterfeit $100 bills going around,” said Penticton RCMP community safety co-ordinator Jim Porteous. “I just want everybody to be aware of all currencies.”

Porteous said a few local businesses have been duped by the counterfeit money. He suspects because of the busy summer tourist season the counterfeit currency users see it as the ideal time to spend it as cashiers may not be as cautious.

“Some of this stuff is really high-end counterfeit currency, but if people use the three basic checks they will notice it. It is so quick and easy to do, but people just don’t take the time to do it,” said Porteous.

Currency counterfeiting statistics from the RCMP show since 2004 the amount of fake banknotes passed has dwindled from 552,980 to 53,536 in 2010. Porteous said retailers should be looking for the ghost image, metallic security strip and the hidden numbers on the bills.

The current warning of counterfeit money in the province could also stem from The Bank of Canada planning on circulating its new plastic money in November, starting with the $100 bill.

“It quite possibly could have something to do with the new $100 bill coming out. Once that hits the market in the next year it will definitely change things. The new money is definitely not going to be counterfeited anywhere near as much as this stuff is,” said Porteous.

The new currency is made from a polymer and will replace the current cotton-paper blend. A number of unique features on the new currency will make them difficult to counterfeit but easy to check. Most prominent will be the two transparent areas and the complex holographic features.

The new $100 note features images that focus on Canadian innovations in the field of medicine. The $50 bill will be issued in March 2012 and will feature images of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen in the North. The remaining bank notes in the polymer series will be issued by the end of 2013.

Porteous said anyone who wants more information, or would like a crash course on how to identify counterfeit money, can call him and set up an appointment for their employees by calling 250-490-2373. He suggests if cashiers suspect they are being handed counterfeit money to just give it back to the customer, or if they feel uncomfortable explain that they do not accept $100 bills.

“They don’t have to accept it. The business has no legal authority to hold it, but they don’t have to accept it. Some cases people might just say ‘I’m sorry, but this is not a valid piece of currency’ and hand it back to them, record the information that they have of the people who have it and ask them to turn it into the police so we can try and investigate it. Maybe we can start doing some background and put a stop to it,” said Porteous.